On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mar 1, 5:41 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 8:32 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > It depends how good the artificial brain stem was. The more of the
>> > brain you try to replace, the more intolerant it will be, probably
>> > exponentially so. Just as having four prosthetic limbs would be more
>> > of a burden than just one, the more the ratio of living brain to
>> > prosthetic brain tilts toward the prosthetic, the less person there is
>> > left. It's not strictly linear, as neuroplasticity would allow the
>> > person to scale down to what is left of the natural brain (as in cases
>> > where people have an entire hemisphere removed), and even if the
>> > prosthetics were good it is not clear that it would feel the same for
>> > the person. If the person survived with an artificial brain stem, they
>> > may never again feel that they were 'really' in their body again. If
>> > the cortex were replaced, they may regress to infancy and never be
>> > able to learn to use the new brain.
>> It's not a completely adequate artificial brain stem or cortex if it
>> doesn't work properly, is it? Just as an artificial heart that doesn't
>> increase output appropriately in response to exercise is not
>> completely adequate, though it might be adequate to prevent the person
>> from dying immediately.
> That's what I'm saying. It may be the case though that no artificial
> organ can be completely adequate in every sense - or even a
> transplant. It's one thing when it's a kidney, but when it's a brain,
> I don't think we can assume anything.

You do assume, though, that brain function can't be replicated by a
machine. That has no firmer basis than a claim that kidney function
cannot be replicated by a machine. After all, brains and kidneys are
made out of the same stuff. You could bite the bullet and declare
yourself a vitalist.

Stathis Papaioannou

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