On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM, Russell Standish
<li...@hpcoders.com.au> wrote:

> This is a variant of an argument that David Parfit uses in his book
> "Reasons and Persons", where he considers a continuum from his mind
> to that of Napoleon. (Don't flame me if I get the details wrong - the
> essence is what is important). I hadn't read that book at the time I
> wrote mine, otherwise, I would undoubtedly have cited it.
> Now in the case of Parfit's argument, I find considerable doubt that
> the argument can be made to work. Whilst, if I randomly knocked out 1%
> of your neurons, you will still be awake, and probably little
> different from the experience, if I knocked out certain "keystone" (as
> the concept is called in ecology) neurons to a level of 1% of all
> neurons, your brain function would fall apart quite rapidly. Yet to
> transition from your brain to that of Napoleons would require rewiring
> those same keystone neurons, and that, I believe casts significant
> doubt that the continuum is possible, even in principle.
> Now, we also know that infant minds are not a tabula rasa. So I am
> sceptical that the transition of a dementiaed mind to an infant mind
> is possible, for just the same reason.

It doesn't have to happen by removal of neurons in a single
individual. The transition could happen, for example, by having a
series of separate individuals who share a proportion of their
predecessors' memories. They don't even have to run on the same
substrate, let alone the same brain.

Stathis Papaioannou

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to