Friday, October 28, 2005

The human mind

What are the boundaries of the human mind?
Richard asks the question and asks what is the seat of the mind - the brain of course is the initial starting point.

I propose that the mind is not significantly different from anything else in that it is just some mater that is held together in a certain pattern. Human continuality (i.e. you remembering who you were a second ago) is a result of your pattern now being almost identical to your pattern then plus a little additional information. And clearly since we probably share basically no atoms with the individual that we were 20 years ago surely it can only be the pattern that is consistent in the way in which we refer to human continuality anyway.
Furthermore from a physicist’s point of view if you were to absolutely duplicate a person (for example by deleting them and recreating them (imagine a teleportation device) then they would still really be the same person.

So my point is that it is the pattern which is most important. In a sense you do indeed live on in your children and in your own works. But of course these sorts of "living on" are disjointed from the main art of you and are much looser forms of continuality - for now.

In this regard a human mind is partly contained within the brain and also the body of the person and even outside the body. But in part the mind is something that we define ourselves - for example we might say "I am a good person it is just that at times something forces me to drink" it is a sort of a psychological trick to alienate oneself from their own bad habits - but it is also true in a sense that that is not "you" because you can legitimately define what part of "you" you are.

If you do that then you are some arbitrary part of the pattern associated with your body. And this may reside largely in the brain or somewhere else.

An interesting experiment is to imagine what would happen if your brain was connected to other persons - would you become the same person or be separate people?


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