On 5/12/2013 9:00 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

If your mom ate something different while pregnant with you, such that you developed with different atoms, does that mean someone else would have been born in your place and you wouldn't be conscious? Or if one unexpressed gene was different, would it be someone other than you looking through those eyes? What if one gene were different, but it was of little consequence, or what if multiple genes were different, etc. How much of the circumstances would have to change for you to never have been born? If you admit that different matter or different genes would not make it such that you were never born, then are you not all your siblings as well?

That doesn't follow. The most common theory of why you are you is that the structure of your brain and body encode computations that are peculiar to you. You are determined by the structure that effects these computations. This is independent of the particular atoms and molecules and even a lot of the structure. As Bruno puts it, it depends on the level of substitution. Just because there is a level, e.g. atoms, that makes no difference, it doesn't follow that there is not a difference at another level.


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