Re: [Fwd: NDPR David Shoemaker, Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction]

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 23:18:08 +1100

2009/2/26 Brent Meeker <>:

> If they are all distinct, then in what sense does S1-S2-S3 form a stream
> of consciousness, rather than S1-S2-B3 or even S1-B1-S3-B2.  Supposedly
> it is that S3 includes some memory of S1 (or earlier Si), but in that
> case why couldn't B3 also include some memory of both S1 and B1?  Why
> wouldn't that be as close a continuation as B3 containing only B1 memories?

B3 in the example given only has memories of B1. If B3 did have
memories of S1 then there would indeed be fusion of S and B. But I am
thinking in terms of observer moments (or observer minutes in this
case): S1, S2, S3, B1, B2, B3 as essentially self-contained, not
necessarily causally connected, and forming a stream of consciousness
only by virtue of their information content. If they were different,
then of course the streams of consciousness would be difference. The
only change that would leave the two streams of consciousness intact
is if either S2 or B2 were missing.

Incidentally, the observer minutes would have to have the right sort
of information content even if they were causally connected, or they
wouldn't form a stream of consciousness. If I receive a brain injury
which causes complete amnesia for my pat, there is a break in my
stream of consciousness despite the fact that there is a clear causal
connection and physical continuity between my pre- and post-injury
self. Physical continuity and causal connectivity are only useful for
subjective continuity because they generate observer moments with the
right sort of information content.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Thu Feb 26 2009 - 07:18:20 PST

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