• earl
    The leading theories on consciousness are global work-space theory and Integrated information theory. Are there others? Please disclude crackpot theories. How close is science to proving one of these theories. Do either of these theories allow for a persistent self when taking into consideration modern science? By persistent self I mean personal identity overtime. If yes can someone explain the theories that allow personal identity overtime?
  • Wirius
    Depends on what you mean by "persistent self"? If you mean an unchanging being, that was disproved the first time it was uttered centuries ago.

    The classic dilemma is "Theseus Ship" for example. What the example shows is that definitions of identity are malleable based on their convenience and useful to us through personal, or societal use. It may be very convenient for me to identify the "original" ship as Theseus ship, but to what scale? To the exact time and atomic position at the time of purchase? Definitions of rigidity and inconvenience are often useless in application.

    Consciousness can best be though of as "metathought". Basically your brain is divided into several functioning components, and consciousness is the key "regulator" of certain parts of your brain. As your brain changes, you will too. As the currently present regulator, you are also able to abstract "yourself". Even if the regulator of 14 years ago was different, it too abstracted "yourself", and in some bits and pieces, you may have some memory of this.

    As long as change happens as a slow enough rate, people are usually content to call it the "same thing" in some respects. If a rapid change occurs, or people haven't seen your gradual change, that is when people say, "They aren't the same person they used to be" Something to chew on.
  • earl

    Hi I have been researching a lot on the topic of personal identity overtime, persistence.
    I have come up with a theory of personal identity. Borrowed from different sources. Humans have a pattern DNA. DNA controls what is possible and what is not possible. Now I am going to use a metaphor the game of chess. Imagine in an alternative reality chess evolved differently. Ponds move minimum 2 spaces at all time and horses move 2 by 2 square maybe the board is a different shape etc. So we have original world chess and parallel world chess. For short o_chess and p_chess. So o_chess is me, Earl and p_chess is the reader.

    Also in this world it is impossible to violate the rules of this game. It is similar to the laws of physics if all the laws of physics have been discovered. You could cheat by modifying DNA and i am not counting related age mutations.
    This all works but what happens if 2 people have the same DNA. This is where the configuration of the board matters.

    I realize in chess there are 2 opponets. Within the laws of the game, treat the 2 opponets as 1 game or one person.

    You would have 2 o_chess's but the pieces would be arranged differently. Lets say each person has 4 moves for black and 4 moves for white.

    1:o_chess's: Move 1 move 2 move 3 move 4
    2:o_chess's: Move 1 move 2 move 3 move 4

    lets say move 1-4 is different but all the pieces are in the same spot. I can't think of an good example in nature or in the real world of where this would happen. But you are different because 1,2,3,4 are taken as a whole are different moves. The point I am trying to make is this equivalent to personality. But even move 1,2,3,4 must follow a pattern caused by DNA. o_chess can't suddenly start being played like p_chess

    So to summarize we have 2 aspects DNA and Personality.

    Imagine a twin or copy. A twin or copy has the same DNA but different
    DNA makes us the same and personality makes us different.

    One thing I want to make clear when I say DNA I am mean Hardware and personality software. The one problem is they are linked in the brain. But there must be a sort of seperation. I am having a little trouble explaining my thoughts maybe someone can clean it up my ideas

    You can only change so much compared to the ship of theuses where pretty muh any change can happen.

    Well I guess if you start having strokes or things go wrong you could change but then the boardgame is changing from chess to checkers . Maybe not that extreme from one stroke. Also I do not want to insult checkers, joke. Some people may find that funny. Then you could make the argument you are not the same. This part is a little confusing how much would have to change to not be the original you? Could someone help answer this question?

    What are your thoughts and could someone clean up my theory?
  • Joshs
    I highly recommend Shaun Gallagher's work on consciousness:

    "How the Body Shapes the Mind is an interdisciplinary work that addresses philosophical questions by appealing to evidence found in experimental psychology, neuroscience, studies of pathologies, and developmental psychology. There is a growing consensus across these disciplines that the contribution of embodiment to cognition is inescapable. Because this insight has been developed across a variety of disciplines, however, there is still a need to develop a common vocabulary that is capable of integrating discussions of brain mechanisms in neuroscience, behavioural expressions in psychology, design concerns in artificial intelligence and robotics, and debates about embodied experience in the phenomenology and philosophy of mind. Shaun Gallagher's book aims to contribute to the formulation of that common vocabulary and to develop a conceptual framework that will avoid both the overly reductionistic approaches that explain everything in terms of bottom-up neuronal mechanisms, and inflationistic approaches that explain everything in terms of Cartesian, top-down cognitive states. Gallagher pursues two basic sets of questions. The first set consists of questions about the phenomenal aspects of the structure of experience, and specifically the relatively regular and constant features that we find in the content of our experience. If throughout conscious experience there is a constant reference to one's own body, even if this is a recessive or marginal awareness, then that reference constitutes a structural feature of the phenomenal field of consciousness, part of a framework that is likely to determine or influence all other aspects of experience. The second set of questions concerns aspects of the structure of experience that are more hidden, those that may be more difficult to get at because they happen before we know it. They do not normally enter into the content of experience in an explicit way, and are often inaccessible to reflective consciousness. To what extent, and in what ways, are consciousness and cognitive processes, which include experiences related to perception, memory, imagination, belief, judgement, and so forth, shaped or structured by the fact that they are embodied in this way? "
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