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EXCLUSIVE YOU

Sergio Navega snavega at ibm.net
Wed Feb 10 09:51:21 EST 1999


John Augustine wrote in message <36c1962b.2405715 at news7.bellatlantic.net>...
> Why do we experience Life from this body and no
>other body?  What is so unique in your body, which
>is EXCLUSIVE (You), and does NOT exist in any other
>body?  If we had a machine that could make a perfect
>duplicate of you, atom for atom, would you only
>experience Life from your original body, or both
>your original and your duplicate bodies?
>
> The closest to a duplicate of a person is identical
>twins.  They have identical genes, but each of the
>twins experience Life from his/her own body, and not
>both bodies.
>


I guess I'll not be able to address the main point of
your question, which seems somewhat metaphysical and
philosophical. But I can say some words in light of
what we know from science.

We're slowly discovering, through neuroscience, that
the answers to some questions about identity are deceptively
simpler than we think.

In the Journal for Consciousness Studies (Vol 4, No 5/6 1997)
a very interesting article by V. S. Ramachandran (the same
of the "phantom limbs") shed some light on what it is to
be "you".

Ramachandran experimented with a blindfolded individual. He
put this individual side by side with another person, at
his right. Then, he used the left hand of the blindfolded man,
to touch his own nose in random places. At the same time,
Ramachandran took the right hand of that man and touched
the nose of that guy at his side. After some seconds doing
this, the blindfolded man had a *strong illusion* that his
nose *stretched* and dislocated horribly, composing a new
(and obviously false) perspective of his own body.

Ramachandran interpreted this experiment as indicating that
our basic perceptual experiences are done by mechanisms
specialized in extracting *statistical regularities* from
the world. Our conscious experience of the world is very
dependent of the information we grasp throught these mechanisms,
even if it goes against our "common sense".

Regards,
Sergio Navega.






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