An innocent question pops up on a typical “versus” capture, and I feel I must respond.
The asker, “a one” gets the featured quote this time around.
About the brain splitting thought experiment: Why is it neccecary to talk in terms of personhood? Why isn’t it enough just to say that a brain produces conciousness and when split each half still has the ability to produce conciousness? Asking which one is ME might just not be the right question to ask.
That’s a Scientific question. Philosophy isn’t ready for that, until it embraces the thought that abstract concepts require a measurable concrete reality upon which to base meaning. It’s quite clear to me that if such an experiment were viable – and it may be, due to advances in Neuroscience and not by way of eliminating philosophical or logical impossibilities – that both parts of the brain would remain conscious, to a lesser degree – unless Neuroscience (and not philosophical discussion) shows that consciousness is almost exclusively the property of one half of a brain, in which case further experiments could be derived where that half is divided and some measurable consciousness would remain in each part.
It may or may not be familiar to anyone reading this, but as for the classical cloning conundrum, it’s not a conundrum to me. Clone a consciousness (in higher detail than normal imprinting is done today), and the simple result is that you have two cloned consciousnesses and two individuals, obviously worth treating as we treat identical twins today. It becomes quite easy to see clearly when you trade the impossibilities of “that which must be” – and the rhetoric surrounding it, heavens above! – for the obvious possibilities of extrapolating from what we can do today.
In short, Science is what turns thought experiments into actual experiments, Philosophy seems to want to keep them thought experiments.
As for the ‘me’ question, both consciousnesses would continually reply, “here!” when addressed, and would continue to experience for the remainder of their consciousnesses’ life cycles, each diverging with the slight differences in sensory input, into non-clones – so that if asked, they would identify as having the same name and history, but as they experience, they would give differing accounts of recent history – certainly to the extent of abjectly different opinions and convictions. Each “identical twin” could become arch enemies, even from just which show they watched last – maybe even from a “vs” quick-fire question session such as this one. If it were a neutral, Scientific one, the odds would be much lower. There would simply be too many observations and facts to agree on to leave anything of substance to debate.