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Ziggamafu

How Would A Brain Transplant Work?

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Ziggamafu
The year, my friends, is 3010, and brain transplants are an easy out-patient procedure.

When a brain is transplanted, does the spirit of the original body follow the brain into the new body? Or does the original body retain the spirit? Or think of it this way: although immoral for what should be obvious reasons (way beyond extreme body modification...body [i]abandonment[/i]), imagine two people decide to switch bodies via brain transplants; do they truly switch bodies? Or do the spirits remain anchored to their respective original bodies?

It seems to me that if this sci-fi scenario were actualized, the transplant of a brain would not "work" in the way it is imagined in sci-fi because that would suggest that the spirit is a material object located in or synonymous with the brain (i.e., naturalism). In other words, I could switch brains with any of you dear readers and we would not actually change bodies.


Thoughts?

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Nihil Obstat
Hm...... We discussed this for a while in my philosophy class first semester. Sometimes there just isn't a decent answer to a question. :P

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Ziggamafu
[quote name='Nihil Obstat' date='12 June 2010 - 06:26 PM' timestamp='1276381574' post='2127835']
Hm...... We discussed this for a while in my philosophy class first semester. Sometimes there just isn't a decent answer to a question. :P
[/quote]

What an UN-FUN answer!!!!! Get off this thread! ;)

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='Ziggamafu' date='12 June 2010 - 05:31 PM' timestamp='1276381876' post='2127841']
What an UN-FUN answer!!!!! Get off this thread! ;)
[/quote]
My problem with this question is that the answers are very limited.

1) "Self" is somehow attached to the brain, so the self transfers to the new body.
2) "Self" is somehow attached to the body, so the self does not move (although may or may not have a new set of experiences and/or due to a new physical brain).
3) "Self" is attached to a combination of brain and body, so two people die and two new ones are created.
4) "Self" is attached to a combination of brain and body, so two people die and we are left with a pile of dead tissue.


In my opinion, first we don't know enough about the brain. Second, we don't understand what consciousness really is. Third, we don't know how the spirit and soul are related to the conscious mind, and how all of those relate to the body itself. Just too many variables, I don't think the question can be answered.

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Ziggamafu
Since humans are not complete without both their created spirit and body (hence the resurrection), I have to believe that the body-identity of a person is realized holistically rather than "in" this or that organ. So while the physical memory might be wiped in the process of a brain-transplant (and with it, certain personality traits), the same created spirit would inhabit the body. The brain of another person in my body would affect me in the same way as any other transplanted organ, though perhaps with different results. I have read of beneficiaries of organ donors who unwittingly acquire the tastes of the organ's original owner. I would not be surprised if, in the sci-fi scenario envisioned by this thread, the recipient of a brain acquired even the memories that the brain acquired in its previous body. Still, I believe that even with a drastically altered personality, the original spirit would persist in the body (just as no new spirit is created in those victims of head trauma who undergo a total loss of memory and personality).

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='Ziggamafu' date='12 June 2010 - 05:59 PM' timestamp='1276383586' post='2127854']
Since humans are not complete without both their created spirit and body (hence the resurrection), I have to believe that the body-identity of a person is realized holistically rather than "in" this or that organ. So while the physical memory might be wiped in the process of a brain-transplant (and with it, certain personality traits), the same created spirit would inhabit the body. The brain of another person in my body would affect me in the same way as any other transplanted organ, though perhaps with different results. I have read of beneficiaries of organ donors who unwittingly acquire the tastes of the organ's original owner. I would not be surprised if, in the sci-fi scenario envisioned by this thread, the recipient of a brain acquired even the memories that the brain acquired in its previous body. Still, I believe that even with a drastically altered personality, the original spirit would persist in the body (just as no new spirit is created in those victims of head trauma who undergo a total loss of memory and personality).
[/quote]
I'd lean towards that as well. It would be academically interesting to know exactly how much of a person's life experience is actually tied to the physical brain, and how much of what gives a person their personality.

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(Scarecrow)
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain

I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain

(Dorothy)
With the thoughts you'd be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain

(Scarecrow)
Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean's near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I'd sit and think some more

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain

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IgnatiusofLoyola
For whatever reason, this thread started me imagining what it would be like if Winchester's brain were transferred to my body.

Somehow, I think our "soul" is in our brain, so the new person would have all of Winchester's thoughts, but Winchester would suddenly wake up to find that he was a blonde, 5'4", female.

But, it would be interesting, because one theory as to the cause of my physical problems is problems with brain chemicals and function. Certainly my sleep disorder is due to some kind of brain malfunction. So, it would be interesting to see if my body with Winchester's brain would suddenly be physically healthier. And, even apart from physical issues, the life I lead is probably the absolute opposite of Winchester's, it would be fascinating to see how he'd react.

Socrates is probably more opposite of me in terms of temperament than Winchester is, but I think Winchester might actually find the transformation intellectually interesting. Socrates would simply be mad as heck to find himself in a woman's body, especially mine.

However, should either Winchester or Socrates find themselves in my body, they would have the consolation that the nearest Catholic church is only 3 blocks away. Just make sure to feed my cats and give them (my cats) 10 mg of prednisone each every evening. You will have to give the cats the pills by hand. They've never bitten me, but there is always a first time. Enjoy! [img]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/public/style_emoticons/default/cool.gif[/img] Edited by IgnatiusofLoyola

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Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
Brain and mind are not synonymous. This is an important philosophic distinction and must be remembered.

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IgnatiusofLoyola
[quote name='Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam' date='12 June 2010 - 07:53 PM' timestamp='1276390400' post='2127876']
Brain and mind are not synonymous. This is an important philosophic distinction and must be remembered.
[/quote]

Aren't the mind and brain synonymous? Where else would our thoughts and feelings reside?

I'm not sure it really matters what philosophers would theorize. Isn't it really a physiological question? Apparently there is some sort of "cell memory," but I think most of our memory and thoughts come from our brain, including what we would call our "spirit" or "soul." The reason I say this is that when the brain dies, the person's body remains. But, if you've ever seen a dead person (which, being Catholic, you probably have--many other religions often keep the coffin closed, and you never see the person dead), it's obvious that their spirit is no longer there, even though their body remains. I've never seen a brain-dead person (that is, someone who is truly brain-dead, but is being kept artifically "alive" for whatever reason--as opposed to someone in a coma, who is "still there"), but I would theorize that a brain-dead person would also appear to be without a "spirit" as well. Maybe someone who has actually seen a "brain dead" person would be able to tell us what it is like.

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[quote name='Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam' date='12 June 2010 - 09:53 PM' timestamp='1276390400' post='2127876']
Brain and mind are not synonymous. This is an important philosophic distinction and must be remembered.
[/quote]

By mind I presume you mean, ones soul
a soul is not flesh or blood , a brain is
are you familiar with the novel written by Mary Shelly, named "Frankenstein"

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IgnatiusofLoyola
[quote name='apparently' date='12 June 2010 - 08:36 PM' timestamp='1276392984' post='2127889']
By mind I presume you mean, ones soul
a soul is not flesh or blood , a brain is
are you familiar with the novel written by Mary Shelly, named "Frankenstein"
[/quote]

I've read it, but it was a long time ago. Will you remind me of its conclusions? (I do remember the basic plot.)

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='apparently' date='12 June 2010 - 08:36 PM' timestamp='1276392984' post='2127889']
By mind I presume you mean, ones soul
a soul is not flesh or blood , a brain is
are you familiar with the novel written by Mary Shelly, named "Frankenstein"
[/quote]
While it's a common mistake to make, it turns out that Mary Shelly was neither a philosopher nor a Catholic theologian.
I know, I was shocked too.

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IgnatiusofLoyola
[quote name='Nihil Obstat' date='12 June 2010 - 09:49 PM' timestamp='1276397346' post='2127925']
While it's a common mistake to make, it turns out that Mary Shelly was neither a philosopher nor a Catholic theologian.
I know, I was shocked too.
[/quote]

I've finally realized why you seem so smart, Nihil. (Well, besides the fact that you ARE smart.)

The things that I read when I was in college were fresh in my brain--as they are in yours. However, in my case, years have passed, and worries about mortgages, careers, marriages, etc. have taken up a lot of the space in my brain that used to be available for knowledge and philosophy. Make the most of this time in your life, because, unless you become a theology or philosophy professor, or something related, you may never be as "smart" again. (I'm still "smart"--just in a different way than I was in college, and I'm smarter at different things than I was in college.)

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