Thesis - Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments)
Todman (Theo)
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Write-up2 (as at 02/06/2019 10:10:34): Thesis - Chapter 10 (Thought Experiments)

  • Any account of personal identity needs to give an account of what is going on in the various thought experiments that have been considered relevant to the topic.
  • It’s also the area that’s most fun. Indeed, I think that the entire Thesis will be an exercise in inference to the best explanation of what’s going on in these thought experiments.
  • Any theory of Personal Identity needs to account for our intuitions (if there is a universal response) or explain them away as confused.
  • I will firstly briefly consider the propriety of using thought experiments in this domain of enquiry, and then consider the usual suspects.

Research Methodology
  • Follow this Link3 for a generic statement of how I intend to pursue each Chapter.
  • The method is broken down into 12, possibly iterative, stages.
  • Follow this Link4 for my progress dashboard on these tasks.

Links to Notes
  1. Propriety of Thought Experiments5
  2. Principal Examples:-
  3. Transhumanism18
  4. Others?

Chapter Introduction
  1. In this chapter we will consider all the usual suspects, as itemised in the list of Notes above.
  2. It is to be noted that some – in particular Commissurotomy – are more actual experiments than thought-experiment, though quite a lot of armchair thinking is involved in working out their import.
  3. Pregnancy and birth in placental mammals might be described as fusion followed by fission.
  4. Multiple Personality Disorder is again – at least allegedly – an existent pathology rather than a Thought Experiment. Moreover, it might be better situated in Chapter 922 as a critique of the idea of an individuating First-Person Perspective23.
  5. Brain Transplants come in various forms. We need to distinguish Whole-Brain Transplants (WBTs) from single or double Cerebrum transplants, and these from brain-tissue transplants, which shade off into Siliconisation and Brain State Transfers.

Main Text
  1. To be supplied24.

Concluding Remarks
  1. Having now discussed Thought Experiments in general, we now in our next Chapter25 turn to the question of Resurrection – the matter that first motivated Locke (and – I suspect - Lynne Rudder Baker and many others) in their discussions of Personal Identity.
  2. This is work in progress26.

Links to Books / Papers to be Addressed27
  1. In this Chapter I will consider the following papers or book chapters (together with some others referenced by these). There are doubtless many more that are relevant and which will be addressed in the course of the thesis, but these are probably sufficient to get us going.
  2. I have segregated the papers by sub-topic, but some would fit into more than one category.
  3. Theory
  4. Brain State Transfers28
  5. Brain Transplants
  6. Commissurotomy
  7. Fission
  8. Fusion
  9. Multiple Personality Disorder
  10. Replication
  11. Siliconisation29
  12. Teletransportation
  13. Transhumanism31
  14. Many aspects of these papers will need to be either ignored or reserved for other chapters.
  15. The motivation for these works is as follows:-
    • To be supplied.

The Cut
  1. There had already been a lot of cutting in the various selections of the original reading list – the reading lists attached to the Notes run on and on – and these items just represent the works in my possession (though I have sought out all that I’ve heard of that look relevant).
  2. However, the items in the lists following were given some attention, and have been culled – at least temporarily – from the lists above, where they originally appeared. I’ve not always given a reason as I’ve not studied them sufficiently closely. But, you have to draw a line somewhere.
  3. I’m well aware that the cut has not been sufficiently rigorous. Further items beyond the items below are likely to be culled when I come to process them.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (02/06/2019 10:10:34).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 27:
  • See the section on Research Methodology for what is to be done with these.
  • The author’s surname is repeated in the text to make it easier for me to see what’s going on in the encoded text I work on.
Footnote 28:
  • There must be many more papers than the classic one by Williams (and commentaries thereon) – I just haven’t got them correctly categorised.
  • Under this head should be included references to “Brain Zaps” and the like.
Footnote 29: Footnote 30:
  • Tye seems to be discussing brain-partition, with silicon transceivers. But he uses Unger’s term “zippering”.
  • He is indebted to Arnold Zuboff, who may be worth following up.
Footnote 31:
  • This is is a very wide topic, and is different to the other notions, in which we are and remain organic.
  • One item of particular interest is where “we” – that is, our psychology – is supposedly uploaded to a computer.
  • Most of the papers in my possession on the subject seem to assume this is possible, and some even argue whether it is – unbeknownst to us – actual.
  • Olson argues against the metaphysical possibility in "Marshall (Richard) & Olson (Eric) - Eric T. Olson: The Philosopher with No Hands", pp. 61-2.
  • This is associated with “Brains in Vats”.
Footnote 32: I’ve read this book, but it’s insufficiently philosophical for its arguments – such as they are – to be worth considering as a priority.

Footnote 33: Cover in the next Chapter.

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