Jesse Mazer writes:

 

> The strength of the synaptic connections between different 
> neurons or groups of neurons does change in a fairly continuous way, no? Of 
> course even if we specify all the synaptic connections and strengths, one's 
> conscious state can change in the short term as different neurons become 
> active, but I don't think this is important to Parfit's thought-experiment, 
> you can imagine a gradual change in the strength and arrangement of synapses 
> even while over the short term there may be more variation in mood and 
> thought processes.

I don't think anyone has questioned the importance of *gradual* transition from one person to another in Parfit's argument. After all, we have discontinuities in consciousness all the time: when we are asleep, if we perform some action in a drunken stupor and later forget that it ever happened, following a head injury which may result in the excision of entire chunks of our lives from memory. Given this, we can imagine changing from one person to another despite discontinuities.

 

Stathis Papaioannou



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