If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

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If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 7:10 pm 

Then by transplanting them inside another brain wouldn't you wake up in another person's body and have their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 24th, 2014, 7:33 pm 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 12:10 am wrote:Then by transplanting them inside another brain wouldn't you wake up in another person's body and have their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc ?

Which neurons are you considering? 'you' are the combined functions of billions of neurons spread across your brain.

When your next door neighbor wakes up in the morning, he's (from your perspective) already waking up in another person's body, and having their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc. That's him, not you. You're you because you have your body, thoughts, personality, sexuality etc. If you had his, you'd be him.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 7:43 pm 

I mea the neurons that are responsible for me being awake \. Nothing else
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 24th, 2014, 7:59 pm 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 12:43 am wrote:I mea the neurons that are responsible for me being awake \. Nothing else

There are special neurons that control whether you're awake or not, but they work pretty much like a light switch (simplifying a bit). If you transplanted them into someone else and hooked them up properly, they'd have two sets of switches to wake them up and you'd have none - you'd be permanently asleep. Nothing else would be different.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 8:22 pm 

So will being able to transplant your consciousness ever be possible ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 8:24 pm 

Also what would happen if that person didnt have those neurons but you transplanted yours ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 9:11 pm 

dlorde » September 24th, 2014, 6:59 pm wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 12:43 am wrote:I mea the neurons that are responsible for me being awake \. Nothing else

There are special neurons that control whether you're awake or not, but they work pretty much like a light switch (simplifying a bit). If you transplanted them into someone else and hooked them up properly, they'd have two sets of switches to wake them up and you'd have none - you'd be permanently asleep. Nothing else would be different.


So If a person is brain dead and my nerouns are transplanted woudn't I awake ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby Paradox on September 24th, 2014, 9:45 pm 

The threads question is easy to answer without discussion....YES
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 9:56 pm 

Paradox » September 24th, 2014, 8:45 pm wrote:The threads question is easy to answer without discussion....YES

So I would awake in that person's body with their sexuality. personality ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 24th, 2014, 11:04 pm 

dlorde » September 24th, 2014, 6:33 pm wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 12:10 am wrote:Then by transplanting them inside another brain wouldn't you wake up in another person's body and have their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc ?

Which neurons are you considering? 'you' are the combined functions of billions of neurons spread across your brain.

When your next door neighbor wakes up in the morning, he's (from your perspective) already waking up in another person's body, and having their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc. That's him, not you. You're you because you have your body, thoughts, personality, sexuality etc. If you had his, you'd be him.


So do you mean I would be awake but it wouldnt be me like my personality ? What makes me me ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 25th, 2014, 7:27 am 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 1:22 am wrote:So will being able to transplant your consciousness ever be possible ?

Depends exactly what you mean. You could, in theory, transplant your head onto another body, or even transplant your brain into another skull (replacing the previous occupant). This would require major breakthroughs in nerve regeneration, immunosuppression - and ethics.

In theory, if you could map every neuron and its connections, you could emulate an individual artificially in an artificial (electronic) neural network, but this would be an identical copy of you, i.e. another person just like you. This emulation would think it was you, but wouldn't be the original you. Does that matter?

Problems with what identity means start to arise when you consider things like the Star Trek transporter, which destructively scans you and recreates an identical copy at the destination. Is the copy you, or did you die and leave a copy that thinks it's you? Does it matter? Are you the same person who went to sleep last night? How could you tell if you were a copy and the previous you had been destroyed overnight? what if the scan is not destructive, so you end up with the original you and an identical copy?

I think it's a more interesting way to explore our feelings and beliefs about identity than the traditional Lincoln's Axe or Ship of Theseus puzzles (if you replace all the individual elements of something like a ship or an axe, one by one, is it still the same ship or axe?).
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 25th, 2014, 7:29 am 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 1:24 am wrote:Also what would happen if that person didnt have those neurons but you transplanted yours ?

Sorry, I can't make sense of that. Which neurons?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 25th, 2014, 7:36 am 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 2:11 am wrote:So If a person is brain dead and my nerouns are transplanted woudn't I awake ?

No, that's not what I said. If you remove the neurons that keep you awake, then you'll be permanently asleep. There are people with damage to those neurons who are permanently asleep, but it is possible to electrically stimulate areas of the brain, doing what the damaged neurons can no longer do, and those people will (sometimes) wake up temporarily.

If a person was brain dead and you could remove the dead brain and transplant your brain into their skull, (assuming the technology worked) you'd then have the dead person's body.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 25th, 2014, 7:44 am 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 4:04 am wrote:So do you mean I would be awake but it wouldnt be me like my personality ?

No. When your next door neighbor wakes up it's him waking up, not you. When I wake up, it's me waking up, not you.

What makes me me ?

You are what your brain does. The way your 80 billion neurons are wired together and how they talk to each other encodes all your memories and personality, etc. Your consciousness is the patterns of activity of these neurons communicating across your brain. New experiences and new things you learn are incorporated and become part of you by changes to these connections.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 11:04 am 

dlorde » September 25th, 2014, 6:27 am wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 1:22 am wrote:So will being able to transplant your consciousness ever be possible ?

Depends exactly what you mean. You could, in theory, transplant your head onto another body, or even transplant your brain into another skull (replacing the previous occupant). This would require major breakthroughs in nerve regeneration, immunosuppression - and ethics.

In theory, if you could map every neuron and its connections, you could emulate an individual artificially in an artificial (electronic) neural network, but this would be an identical copy of you, i.e. another person just like you. This emulation would think it was you, but wouldn't be the original you. Does that matter?

Problems with what identity means start to arise when you consider things like the Star Trek transporter, which destructively scans you and recreates an identical copy at the destination. Is the copy you, or did you die and leave a copy that thinks it's you? Does it matter? Are you the same person who went to sleep last night? How could you tell if you were a copy and the previous you had been destroyed overnight? what if the scan is not destructive, so you end up with the original you and an identical copy?

I think it's a more interesting way to explore our feelings and beliefs about identity than the traditional Lincoln's Axe or Ship of Theseus puzzles (if you replace all the individual elements of something like a ship or an axe, one by one, is it still the same ship or axe?).


Ok a few more questions 1. What would happen if a certain neural network from my brain was switched with
another persons same neural network ? Would it work the exact same for me as it did for that person ? 2. What would happen if a neural network that was responsible for a certain thing got replaced by a artificial neural network ? And 3. What would happen in mind uploading ? Will my personalty, memory, sexuality come across where ever my mind was uploaded ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 11:15 am 

dlorde » September 25th, 2014, 6:27 am wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 1:22 am wrote:So will being able to transplant your consciousness ever be possible ?

Depends exactly what you mean. You could, in theory, transplant your head onto another body, or even transplant your brain into another skull (replacing the previous occupant). This would require major breakthroughs in nerve regeneration, immunosuppression - and ethics.

In theory, if you could map every neuron and its connections, you could emulate an individual artificially in an artificial (electronic) neural network, but this would be an identical copy of you, i.e. another person just like you. This emulation would think it was you, but wouldn't be the original you. Does that matter?

Problems with what identity means start to arise when you consider things like the Star Trek transporter, which destructively scans you and recreates an identical copy at the destination. Is the copy you, or did you die and leave a copy that thinks it's you? Does it matter? Are you the same person who went to sleep last night? How could you tell if you were a copy and the previous you had been destroyed overnight? what if the scan is not destructive, so you end up with the original you and an identical copy?

I think it's a more interesting way to explore our feelings and beliefs about identity than the traditional Lincoln's Axe or Ship of Theseus puzzles (if you replace all the individual elements of something like a ship or an axe, one by one, is it still the same ship or axe?).


I mean like my mind or my consciousness would it be possible to transfer it to someone else and become them ? Have their thoughts, personality, sexuality, memories ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 11:19 am 

dlorde » September 25th, 2014, 6:27 am wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 1:22 am wrote:So will being able to transplant your consciousness ever be possible ?

Depends exactly what you mean. You could, in theory, transplant your head onto another body, or even transplant your brain into another skull (replacing the previous occupant). This would require major breakthroughs in nerve regeneration, immunosuppression - and ethics.

In theory, if you could map every neuron and its connections, you could emulate an individual artificially in an artificial (electronic) neural network, but this would be an identical copy of you, i.e. another person just like you. This emulation would think it was you, but wouldn't be the original you. Does that matter?

Problems with what identity means start to arise when you consider things like the Star Trek transporter, which destructively scans you and recreates an identical copy at the destination. Is the copy you, or did you die and leave a copy that thinks it's you? Does it matter? Are you the same person who went to sleep last night? How could you tell if you were a copy and the previous you had been destroyed overnight? what if the scan is not destructive, so you end up with the original you and an identical copy?

I think it's a more interesting way to explore our feelings and beliefs about identity than the traditional Lincoln's Axe or Ship of Theseus puzzles (if you replace all the individual elements of something like a ship or an axe, one by one, is it still the same ship or axe?).


Ok basically I wake up in your body.And inherit your thoughts, memories, personality, sexuality etc. Like a body swap. Would that be possible without transplanting the whole brain ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby neuro on September 25th, 2014, 11:55 am 

Consciousness is a function of neurons.
Yes.
In a sense.
Only in a sense.

It is a function of a sufficiently complex network of neurons + a sufficiently complex source of information (reality and body) + a sufficiently malleable set of mechanisms of plasticity and changes in neuronal functionality, connectivity and synaptic efficacy.

Thus, consciousness would be ALTERED by any manipulation of neurons, groups of neurons, connections among neurons and with body organs, plasticity mechanisms and so on.

In order to "transfer" your consciousness into another body you should be able to reproduce exactly, in such body, the same molecular conditions of most cells (not only neurons) and exactly the same neuronal connections, each of them with the same strength, each neuron having exactly the same functional and biochemical situation.

The point is:
once you have replicated all this, this body will be identical to yours and will possess a consciousness identical to yours, so...
what the hell remains to be transfered?

You can keep your consciousness for yourself: the other guy already has one, identical to yours.
It is two of you.
and in less than 1 second you'll be two different people, beacause each - even slightly - different experience will - from now on - introduce differences in your consciousness, your memories, your emotions...

In other words:
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE whatever you asked and you may think of asking?
In principle, it is theoretically possible to reproduce exactly your consciousness elsewhere (and you do not need to transplant anything: you get two of you who start to live two different lives from now on).
In principle, it is theoretically possible to reproduce or transplant any "part" of your consciousness, but such "part" will be profoundly changed in the host (receiving) organism.
No part of consciousness is a standalone module.
Consciousness is a process, an interaction among quite complex modules, interconnected and interdependent, continually evolving.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 12:00 pm 

neuro » September 25th, 2014, 10:55 am wrote:Consciousness is a function of neurons.
Yes.
In a sense.
Only in a sense.

It is a function of a sufficiently complex network of neurons + a sufficiently complex source of information (reality and body) + a sufficiently malleable set of mechanisms of plasticity and changes in neuronal functionality, connectivity and synaptic efficacy.

Thus, consciousness would be ALTERED by any manipulation of neurons, groups of neurons, connections among neurons and with body organs, plasticity mechanisms and so on.

In order to "transfer" your consciousness into another body you should be able to reproduce exactly, in such body, the same molecular conditions of most cells (not only neurons) and exactly the same neuronal connections, each of them with the same strength, each neuron having exactly the same functional and biochemical situation.

The point is:
once you have replicated all this, this body will be identical to yours and will possess a consciousness identical to yours, so...
what the hell remains to be transfered?

You can keep your consciousness for yourself: the other guy already has one, identical to yours.
It is two of you.
and in less than 1 second you'll be two different people, beacause each - even slightly - different experience will - from now on - introduce differences in your consciousness, your memories, your emotions...

In other words:
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE whatever you asked and you may think of asking?
In principle, it is theoretically possible to reproduce exactly your consciousness elsewhere (and you do not need to transplant anything: you get two of you who start to live two different lives from now on).
In principle, it is theoretically possible to reproduce or transplant any "part" of your consciousness, but such "part" will be profoundly changed in the host (receiving) organism.
No part of consciousness is a standalone module.
Consciousness is a process, an interaction among quite complex modules, interconnected and interdependent, continually evolving.

Well I mean like a body swap where I wake up in another persons body. Would I have their thoughts, personality, memories, sexuality, etc ? And is it possible without a brain transplant ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 12:14 pm 

neuro » September 25th, 2014, 10:55 am wrote:Consciousness is a function of neurons.
Yes.
In a sense.
Only in a sense.

It is a function of a sufficiently complex network of neurons + a sufficiently complex source of information (reality and body) + a sufficiently malleable set of mechanisms of plasticity and changes in neuronal functionality, connectivity and synaptic efficacy.

Thus, consciousness would be ALTERED by any manipulation of neurons, groups of neurons, connections among neurons and with body organs, plasticity mechanisms and so on.

In order to "transfer" your consciousness into another body you should be able to reproduce exactly, in such body, the same molecular conditions of most cells (not only neurons) and exactly the same neuronal connections, each of them with the same strength, each neuron having exactly the same functional and biochemical situation.

The point is:
once you have replicated all this, this body will be identical to yours and will possess a consciousness identical to yours, so...
what the hell remains to be transfered?

You can keep your consciousness for yourself: the other guy already has one, identical to yours.
It is two of you.
and in less than 1 second you'll be two different people, beacause each - even slightly - different experience will - from now on - introduce differences in your consciousness, your memories, your emotions...

In other words:
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE whatever you asked and you may think of asking?
In principle, it is theoretically possible to reproduce exactly your consciousness elsewhere (and you do not need to transplant anything: you get two of you who start to live two different lives from now on).
In principle, it is theoretically possible to reproduce or transplant any "part" of your consciousness, but such "part" will be profoundly changed in the host (receiving) organism.
No part of consciousness is a standalone module.
Consciousness is a process, an interaction among quite complex modules, interconnected and interdependent, continually evolving.

Also would mind transferring to another body be possible ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby Braininvat on September 25th, 2014, 12:19 pm 

If you've read the postings here, you may have gathered that the brain is key, in this thought experiment. If you put your RAS (the part of your brain that controls level of wakefulness, the reticular activating system) in someone else's brain, you are knocked out and they have an extra wakeup system. OTOH, if you put your ENTIRE BRAIN inside someone else's head (ideally, someone who is missing their brain, or you would have to vacate that space in some way), then YOU will wake up with the bizarre experience of having a different body. Consciousness and selfhood are HOLISTIC emergent properties of a brain - we have moved on from Descartes, who believed that these properties resided just in the pineal gland, which he viewed as some sort of receiver that tuned in your soul.

Of course, finding your consciousness in a different body, those characteristics of yourself such as sexuality would begin to change due to altered feedback from your new body's nervous system and a different endocrine system, private parts, and so on. I have wondered what it would be like, being male, to wake up in a female body. Would it drive me crazy? Would it be stimulating (would I look in the mirror and be "whoa, I'm HOT! oh, yeah!")? Would I finally being to understand the female mind (unlikely)?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 12:22 pm 

dlorde » September 24th, 2014, 6:33 pm wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 12:10 am wrote:Then by transplanting them inside another brain wouldn't you wake up in another person's body and have their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc ?

Which neurons are you considering? 'you' are the combined functions of billions of neurons spread across your brain.

When your next door neighbor wakes up in the morning, he's (from your perspective) already waking up in another person's body, and having their thoughts, personality, sexuality etc. That's him, not you. You're you because you have your body, thoughts, personality, sexuality etc. If you had his, you'd be him.


Would having another person's body, thoughts, personality, sexuality be possible ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby Braininvat on September 25th, 2014, 12:34 pm 

You persist in asking the same question, in a way which suggests your are not reading the replies to your OP. If you have read them, you may have gleaned that you could have someone else's body (SEE MY POSTING ABOVE), very hypothetically, but it you "have" someone else's personality and thoughts and memories, then you are in fact someone else and not you.

I'm not sure how our answers are not helping you refine your question, or revise it.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 25th, 2014, 12:35 pm 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 5:22 pm wrote:Would having another person's body, thoughts, personality, sexuality be possible ?

The question doesn't make sense to me. Someone else's body, thoughts, personality, and sexuality would be someone else. There are millions of people with someone else's body, thoughts, personality, and sexuality. From my point of view, you already have someone else's body, thoughts, personality, and sexuality. To everyone on the planet, you already are someone else.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 12:39 pm 

Braininvat » September 25th, 2014, 11:34 am wrote:You persist in asking the same question, in a way which suggests your are not reading the replies to your OP. If you have read them, you may have gleaned that you could have someone else's body (SEE MY POSTING ABOVE), very hypothetically, but it you "have" someone else's personality and thoughts and memories, then you are in fact someone else and not you.

I'm not sure how our answers are not helping you refine your question, or revise it.


I know. I mean how would this be achieved is what I'm asking
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 25th, 2014, 12:44 pm 

alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 5:39 pm wrote:
Braininvat » September 25th, 2014, 11:34 am wrote:You persist in asking the same question, in a way which suggests your are not reading the replies to your OP. If you have read them, you may have gleaned that you could have someone else's body (SEE MY POSTING ABOVE), very hypothetically, but it you "have" someone else's personality and thoughts and memories, then you are in fact someone else and not you.

I'm not sure how our answers are not helping you refine your question, or revise it.


I know. I mean how would this be achieved is what I'm asking

>facepalm<
You need to spend a little more time thinking about what you're asking.
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby neuro on September 25th, 2014, 12:53 pm 

dlorde » September 25th, 2014, 5:44 pm wrote:
alternativename » September 25th, 2014, 5:39 pm wrote:
Braininvat » September 25th, 2014, 11:34 am wrote:You persist in asking the same question, in a way which suggests your are not reading the replies to your OP. If you have read them, you may have gleaned that you could have someone else's body (SEE MY POSTING ABOVE), very hypothetically, but it you "have" someone else's personality and thoughts and memories, then you are in fact someone else and not you.

I'm not sure how our answers are not helping you refine your question, or revise it.


I know. I mean how would this be achieved is what I'm asking

>facepalm<
You need to spend a little more time thinking about what you're asking.


but please be careful, not to take too long, otherwise something will have changed, in the meanwhile, in your consciousness,
and pay particular attention that nobody transplants yor idea about what you are asking into someone else's brain, once you have managed to focus it clearly
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby Paradox on September 25th, 2014, 8:25 pm 

Hmm...That is surely interesting. Someone comes here with super far fetched ideas, however still gets an audience responding to it. For fun?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby alternativename on September 25th, 2014, 11:04 pm 

Paradox » September 25th, 2014, 7:25 pm wrote:Hmm...That is surely interesting. Someone comes here with super far fetched ideas, however still gets an audience responding to it. For fun?


Well i've been trying to do research which is why I was wondering. What chose me to be me ? Could by scientific and technological means could I be someone else ?
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Re: If consciousness is a function of neurons ?

Postby dlorde on September 26th, 2014, 11:30 am 

alternativename » September 26th, 2014, 4:04 am wrote:Well i've been trying to do research which is why I was wondering. What chose me to be me ? Could by scientific and technological means could I be someone else ?

It's a fair enough question, and an awkward ontological point to get your head around.

To grasp it, you have to stop thinking of yourself as a separate entity that has been assigned the body you occupy at place where you live. Nobody chose you to be you. If you were someone else you'd be somewhere else doing something else. It was put best in The Goon Show, when Ned Seagoon discovers Eccles in the coal cellar:

Seagoon: Eccles! what are you doing down here?
Eccles: Everybody's got to be somewhere!

The way I think of it is like this; there are billions of people who are born and develop and grow in different places all over the world. Each of them develops a consciousness and sense of self that can ask 'who am I?' and 'why am I me and not someone else?'. The answer to each of them is "People are born all over the world. The person that was born at time <A>, in place <B>, and grew up into a conscious individual is you. Asking why you're you and not someone else is like asking why this tree here isn't that tree over there".
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