personality reincarnation

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personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:35 pm UTC

Ok. So this is a theory about reincarnation.
Can anyone read it and point out any gaps in logic or other problems with it?
Thank you.

Basically it goes that a person’s identity is defined by their core personality and that whenever that core personality re-occurs it constitutes a true reincarnation.
There are many competing theories about the identity and soul. Some people judge identity by appearance, some by the materials that make up the body, some by DNA some by memory, some by continuity of body or mind, most believe in a spiritual alternative that uses one or more of these.
I will now consider these:

1. Appearance is superficial. If we get scarred or change our hair colour we do not change into a totally different person.
2. Material. The Oak Ridge Atomic Research Center has found that 98% of the atoms that make up our bodies are replaced every year. Experts have found that after 5 years every atom will have been replaced. So unless you say you are a totally different soul to the person who was in your body 5 years ago, it cannot be said that we are defined by the material that makes up our bodies
3. Certain characteristics are shaped by DNA. Appearance. Intelligence. Aggression.
However if you took triplets and send them away to be raised by - for the sake of argument- Adolf Hitler, Ghandi and a pack of wolves, they would grow up to be wildly different people shaped by their parents’ philosophies, language and major life events. For one thing one would speak German and the other Hindi.
4. Memory. If a person suffers amnesia they may or may not seem different.
Memory is tied to the very centre of what makes us who we are. However some memories shape our personalities and some are of no consequence. Forgetting a line in an article in a magazine you read 10 years ago does not fundamentally alter who you are as a person and similarly gaining new memories day after day does not make you a different person. I would say memory is important in that it shapes one’s core personality and that the memories that make us who we are boil down to a few major events. It could be said that trauma or a major life discovery could change a person. “She is not the same person she was before”. Furthermore specific people or things are not as important as what they do. It doesn’t matter who your first love was so much as the fact they broke your heart. Duplicate event could produce a similar/the same personality
5. Continuity is a strong case. In our experience people don’t cease to exist and return to being in a completely unrelated manner. However they do change while retaining continuity. “She is not the same person she was before” People have life changing experiences that alter the very core of their being (trauma, love, religion) but are still connected to their past.
Moreover if hypothetically as they slept a person was by some magic (or super –science) destroyed and then a second completely unrelated second magic completely by an amazing coincidence recreated that person exactly, would it be a different person? Would it matter?

Identity is a vague concept, but supremely important. It could be argued that each second of a person’s life is a separate person or that the divisions between people we create are meaningless and all souls are one.
I believe a person is defined by personality- their basic loves, hates, fears, drives and quirks. Certain parts of DNA and certain Memories and random chance make us the people that we are. A basic stable part of our mind that is rarely if ever changed by the events of the days and years. If that part of Bob is transferred into a rock that that rock (if it had the capacity for thought) is now Bob. If that part is changed it will be quickly obvious to anyone who knows that person that they are different.
Here is my main point. If a person is defined by personality, actual reincarnation is possible. Three people are born every second. I don’t how much DNA and life events have to be similar, but if they are similar enough to factors that shaped the core personality of a person that has died, then that should mean they are alive again.
People would have a different appearance and no memory of their previous life like in standard reincarnation.
I don’t wish to put this forward an anti –religious theory. If there truly is an eternal soul then that combination of memory, continuity and personality completely overshadows any rebirth of simple personality. Or possibly the resurrection the Powers That Be promise involves a resurrection of personality (and memory?).
I think this theory is good in that it is fairly scientific and in that it deals directly with the human aspect of ourselves rather than with molecules or DNA.
It is testable in that theoretically you could do a scan of the core parts of Uncle Pete’s dying brain and then later check all the children of the world for a reasonable match.
Then someone could take you to a kindergarten and say
“Ok you see that kid there”
“Which one?”
“The one who just kicked that girl in the shins”
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

The hypothesis that the existence of a sufficiently similar mental process can make one physical entity a "reincarnation" of another breaks down if you were to find two concurrently alive physical entities that shared the similarity. Because there's no sensible argument to be made that they would be the same entity.

Otherwise, all you've done is redefine "reincarnation" to be this hypothetically possible mental similarity, rather than the typical incorporation of a spiritual soul. It's sort of a "Yeah, so?" moment.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby induction » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:...all you've done is redefine "reincarnation" to be this hypothetically possible mental similarity, rather than the typical incorporation of a spiritual soul. It's sort of a "Yeah, so?" moment.


It kind of reminds me of the arguments that prove that identity survives death by claiming that identity = body. Your body is (usually) still around after you die, so upside: your identity survives, downside: you're dead.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby philsov » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

If a person is defined by personality, actual reincarnation is possible.


Nope.

Given your own argument that personality is a combination of both genetics and environment (see: hypothetical triplets), the chances of any two individuals having an identical personality is very, very, very small and has absolutely nothing to do with one person dying and another person being born. What you initially describe can more accurately labeled "recreation," not "reincarnation".
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:02 pm UTC

Is this really a Serious Business topic? Not complaining, just floating the thought. (Seems more like Fictional Science on its phrenology, alchemy, etc. side.)

Azrael, I agree that proving a metaphysical link between people on grounds like these would be impossible, but I actually think the theoretical mental similarity is kind of interesting. I mean, it turned out that the "soul" was just a pattern of structures and chemical gradients in the brain, but some of us still use the word. So what would it take to count as a "reincarnation" of someone in absence of the supernatural?

FierceContinent wrote:Basically it goes that a person’s identity is defined by their core personality and that whenever that core personality re-occurs it constitutes a true reincarnation.

See, I'm not so sure that you can isolate a "core personality." Multilingual speakers report that working in one language or another gives them a different attitude about life and social interaction. Moving to a new place causes changes of habits. Small changes in daily routine can cause us to interpret big ideas differently. Like the recent XKCD comic showcased, a lot of what we take for identity is the environment we operate in and the interface in between.

4. Memory. If a person suffers amnesia they may or may not seem different.

Amnesia comes in many forms. Sometimes all of the patterns and inclinations are there, with no names and faces attached. I get that that's really what you're describing, but that's not a state of being without memory. What goes on in our heads is a hell of a lot bigger than the little bits and pieces we're conscious of.

And for that matter, if you swapped the brain of someone you're close to, through some crazy SyFy channel process, with a random person's, I think there would be bits of their behavior and manner that would seem like the original person's. We'd be interpreting behavior through the lens of a familiar body idiom, as it were. So I think there are ways in which a person's identity, in the sense of how they seem, really is defined by the skin they're in. We would be likely, subjectively, to exaggerate both the differences and the similarities of mannerisms. So I don't think that's all in the brain and memory to begin with.

5. Continuity is a strong case. In our experience people don’t cease to exist and return to being in a completely unrelated manner. However they do change while retaining continuity. “She is not the same person she was before” People have life changing experiences that alter the very core of their being (trauma, love, religion) but are still connected to their past.

Well, what about dreams? We can experience discontinuity of identity quite freely in dreams and hallucinations.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby morriswalters » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:08 am UTC

There is an obvious problem, babies brains and nervous systems aren't complete. How could they hold the components of an adult personality. The equipment per se doesn't exist yet. Unless of course you are proposing that some inner part of us is separate as in a soul. If you assume that it is two identical bodies, one of them a clone, then you are left with the problem that the two bodies would diverge over time. By that I mean that if you were a drug addict that your body would have changed in response to that, a cloned body would not have that part of you. Say that again for every system in the body which changes in response to stimuli. You are you because of everything that has happened to you.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:00 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:So what would it take to count as a "reincarnation" of someone in absence of the supernatural?

Isn't this kind of like asking what would count as transubstantiation if God doesn't exist?
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:24 am UTC

Yes, probably. I'm just looking at it from the perspective that identity is a defined in at least two ways - a particular pattern in the brain, and a social construction. If you remove material and continuity, you can accept that if you suddenly replace a person with an exact copy, it's still that person. So how close does it need to be?

Then, take that a step further - can it happen by accident? Sure, it's statistically impossible to end up with two people of identical DNA, or who would respond in exactly the same way to the same stimuli (however simple or complex you want to make those.) But if we take this all the way out to the silly extreme where a person is a pattern, and the "core essence" is itself a subset of that pattern with an acceptable margin of error, apparently, how close is close enough?

Edit: I just fully convinced myself that it's exactly like the communion wafer, yes.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Bsob » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:27 am UTC

On an infinite time line, all possible events will occur an infinite number of times.

So if it helps you to think some that incalculable amount of time in the future an exact copy of you will be doing exactly what you are doing now, and to call that "reincarnation", go for it.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Роберт » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:28 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:So what would it take to count as a "reincarnation" of someone in absence of the supernatural?

Isn't this kind of like asking what would count as transubstantiation if God doesn't exist?

If God doesn't exist, than it's not transubstantiation, it's cissubstantiation. Right?
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Ipsum » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:08 pm UTC

This seems really anthropocentric. Who's to say that a sentient being doesn't already exist in which someone's same "brain pattern" exists in a wholly-different form? Could a human being "come back" as that?
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Nem » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:22 pm UTC

FierceContinent wrote:Basically it goes that a person’s identity is defined by their core personality


You've invoked the identifier 'their' in the description. What makes the core personality their core personality, rather than someone else's? Without that the whole thing's circular.

FierceContinent wrote:and that whenever that core personality re-occurs it constitutes a true reincarnation.


If you just view a personality as arising from a certain pattern of the brain; and you don't view patterns as instantiations of some meta-pattern off in the realm of ideas but, instead, as abstractions we make over arrangements of individual things in the world; then this doesn't follow. There wouldn't be anything there that was recurring that wasn't just a way that people looked at things from the outside.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:35 am UTC

Right, there's no connection between the two. You've just broadened the category you were using to describe the one thing to describe the two things instead.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:19 am UTC

Thank you for your thoughts
Azrael .Two concurrently alive physical entities could be the same entity. Its just seems weird because we don't have the technology to do like time travel or duplication and because we define them by continuity etc.
Philsov. The personality does not have to be identical. Not every neuron or memory is vital. One person is a billion different personalities over a day but Mom is still distinct from dad. I feel there is some middle ground in personalites between the placment of individual neurons shaping ones identity (in which case you would be a different person hundreds a times a second)and " all people are one person" like how infinite shades and hues can be recognised as the named colours so there would be say around a trillion definable personalities in existence

copper benzel . I'd specifically define core personality as the personality that is not changed by day to day events.
And yes dreams are another example of how we are not defined by continuity

morris walter. Yes. Exactly. If i'm right it is not like traditional reincarnation where identity lasts a lifetime. One would have several core personalities over a life time. You would return not at birth but in the middle of a life after a major event that shaped your personality. Weird.

TheGrammarBolshevik pretty much yea

copper. 99% match? 99.99%? 99.99999%? id say how close is a defined by emotions. Thats what matters with people and defying death. Both in terms of being someone's personality heir and in mundane life (You're not the man i married!) There is no clear divider but on a human level (some guy is born a thousand years from now (well has a major personality shaping experience) how much does that one have to be like you for you to feel vaguely upset if you were to know someone will steals his car).

bsob thx :)

ipsum : sure

nem ok. a person's identity is defined by *a* core personality
There would be no continuity. There would be a recurring pattern of how a person is viewed from the outside and also the other way round.

copper. There is no continuity between the two. They both fit in a definable category.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby morriswalters » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:15 am UTC

Interesting idea. Part of your basic personality seems to be composed of the biochemical reactions we know as emotions. Those biochemical reactions seem to be part of the biological structure of your body. If an existing personality is in place, what happens to what is already there. And what happens to the structures that make up the existing core personality. I guess what I am trying to say is that person who I am is dictated by the structure of my brain. Built up by a combination of the events in my life and the unique biological blueprint of my genome. What we call consciousness is an emergent property. That is something that is more than the sum of the parts, our personal history and our biology.

For me to accept reincarnation in any form you would need to demonstrate a mechanism. That doesn't mean it isn't possible, but that's what I need to consider the possibility. I don't know that I consider the idea of a changeable core personality to have much meaning. Certainly the younger you are the easier it is to change the person who is you, at least on the surface. But I tend to believe that some of those changes are only manifestations of an individuals will. If you are raised a racist it will always require an effort of will to bury it and keep it buried. Sorry if this seems to be rambling.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:50 am UTC

Bsob wrote:On an infinite time line, all possible events will occur an infinite number of times.
Nope, because there's nothing inconsistent about an infinite timeline where the same thing just happens over and over again, or where the universe is interesting for a little bit but then just expands into aeons of cold nothingness for the rest of eternity.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:10 am UTC

FierceContinent wrote:Azrael .Two concurrently alive physical entities could be the same entity. Its just seems weird because we don't have the technology to do like time travel or duplication and because we define them by continuity etc.

Think about this. You're saying that even though something is defined in a way that contradicts your thesis, you're nevertheless right and the common definition of the word is wrong. This is not how language works.

FierceContinent wrote:TheGrammarBolshevik pretty much yea

I'm not sure you understand my point. If God doesn't exist, then transubstantiation does not exist, because God is at the core of what the word "transubstantiation" means. Sure, you can talk about whether something is "the closest thing to transubstantiation." But the answer is not going to have any religious significance just because it's "the closest thing."

Likewise, some sort of essentialist theory of identity is at the core of what people mean when they talk about reincarnation. If you adapt some other theory of identity, nothing you can point to in your philosophy is going to satisfy what people are looking for when they talk about reincarnation.

gmalivuk wrote:
Bsob wrote:On an infinite time line, all possible events will occur an infinite number of times.
Nope, because there's nothing inconsistent about an infinite timeline where the same thing just happens over and over again, or where the universe is interesting for a little bit but then just expands into aeons of cold nothingness for the rest of eternity.

You could still make it work if you're very weaselly about how you define the word "possible."
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:23 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:I'm not sure you understand my point. If God doesn't exist, then transubstantiation does not exist, because God is at the core of what the word "transubstantiation" means. Sure, you can talk about whether something is "the closest thing to transubstantiation." But the answer is not going to have any religious significance just because it's "the closest thing."

I don't think it has to be of "religious" significance, necessarily. If your God is a rock, and someone eventually reveals to you that it's really just a perfectly ordinary rock, I think it's okay to still call it God (and you save money not changing the signage.) You'll only look silly if you go on feeding it pigeons or something.

Likewise, some sort of essentialist theory of identity is at the core of what people mean when they talk about reincarnation. If you adapt some other theory of identity, nothing you can point to in your philosophy is going to satisfy what people are looking for when they talk about reincarnation.

It rather depends on the people involved, doesn't it? The ones doing the talking and the meaning?

I mean, I get that this is counting angels on the head of a pin, mostly because reincarnation is less a wrong interpretation of a phenomenon and more just a whole-cloth made up phenomenon. I do still think it's fun to think about, as you say, what the closest thing might be, and what those essentialist paradigms might do if they're all unhooked and flapping about on the little spinny bit. I'm not really convinced of FierceContinent's idea of a "core" consciousness to be retained in the first place, but it's a fun alternative angle on the Ship of Theseus idea.

I mean, I'd agree that a perfect copy of a person is still that person, because an identity is identified by its behaviors. If Steve is killed by the alien spider crabs and replaced with an exact biological duplicate, the show probably gets along the same, and ditto if Steve willingly uploads his brain into an iPhone. If Steve is a little different after the process, say, crabbier, or more responsive, he's still Steve, or a Steve iteration of some kind. But I think the identity is practical - his self-identity and the identity applied by the rest of the cast. I think it's actually the most superficial features, not some kind of behavioral "core".
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:38 pm UTC

Morris walters. A mechanism? well the events in your life and the unique biological blueprint of your genome (at least the significant events and significant genes) have a good chance of reccurring (purely by random chance) in some person born in the future
you could scan peoples brain patterns and then leave you money to the person on earth who's brain pattern is most like yours. i'm not sure how good scans are though and then there is the problem of scanning several billion people.
Would you say speaking english is a significant part of who you are or could there be a chinese Morriswalters?
What if you learned chinese now?

As you said a baby's nervous system is not complete and if we define a person by personality then we have to acknowlege that a baby is not the same person as their mature self. I don't know if say a traumatic accident would be capable of changing the core personality.

Grammarbolshevik. I am trying to change language and perception . Very arrogant of me but i am trying to get the equivalent of a universal infinite life cheat.

one could call it repersonification perhaps? The word reincarnation seems to have a lot of baggage.

Copper bezel. So If i move to a chinese village i become a completly different identity? i think everyone has important parts of themselves they never show to other people. though if the fact that you always wear a hat is a important part of your identity its not a dealbreaker.
They almost certainly have hats in the future

An interesting point is that if your core personality recurrs a lot of the people who shaped your early self (or people very much like like them) will be probably be there to recreate the events in your life that make you who you are.
An unpleasant thought if you hate your parents.

The personality doesn't have to be exact. After all you are not an exact copy of the person who started reading this.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby induction » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

FierceContinent wrote:well the events in your life and the unique biological blueprint of your genome (at least the significant events and significant genes) have a good chance of reccurring (purely by random chance) in some person born in the future
you could scan peoples brain patterns and then leave you money to the person on earth who's brain pattern is most like yours. i'm not sure how good scans are though and then there is the problem of scanning several billion people.
...
i am trying to get the equivalent of a universal infinite life cheat.
...
An interesting point is that if your core personality recurrs a lot of the people who shaped your early self (or people very much like like them) will be probably be there to recreate the events in your life that make you who you are.
An unpleasant thought if you hate your parents.

The personality doesn't have to be exact. After all you are not an exact copy of the person who started reading this.

[/quote]

I disagree with several things here, like the likelihood of someone else with identical 'significant' experiences and DNA (which as you point out, requires the existence of those around them to have identical experiences and DNA to the people in your life that influenced who you are, which requires the existence of the people around those people to have identical experiences and DNA ,etc,etc,etc), all of which seems to require the world to simply occur in circles. There is also the problem that the results of any useful brain scan are strongly dependent on what the person in question is currently experiencing, not just on the structure of their brains. But these objections could be argued as hypotheticals.

I can see that you are not claiming the quantitative identity between yourself and such a person, but only the qualitative identity. The main problem I have is that I don't understand what you are trying to accomplish. Why identify yourself with someone who is similar to you? Why leave them your money? How is the existence of someone similar to you a benefit to you at all? Why is the thought that someone similar to you has parents similar to yours (who you hate) a problem for you? How is any of this a universal infinite life cheat? I mean, even if your theory is accurate, and you never know about it, would you still benefit?
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:16 am UTC

I should point out that quite a lot of of our DNA and experiences are most likely not important in establishing our identity. Whether we have curly or straight hair. whether we saw any police academy movies. What we did 3 years on the night of the 3rd of march. Skin tone.
Otherwise getting a tan or watching a movie would utterly change your identity (hes not the man he used to be). There may be a surprisingly small number of Significant factors on a human level. ( a couple of million?)ie enough that people would notice a difference if it happened all at once. Also the die would be rolled with every single life in that comes into being in the whole future of space and whatever. This is probably a large number of lives.
And it has being mentioned that history tends to repeat itself.

I did say i didnt know how the typical modern idea of a brain scan worked. It's not important to my main idea just a thought.

I am saying that those people *are* me.

I believe it and because of that i don't fear death (much)
plus i get past lives which is cool (even if i pretty much no idea of what happened.)
In terms of the english language i'm wrong . but of course that language was shaped by people who believed utterly in the person being defined by continuity. But in terms of how i shape my own perceptions i can do what i like. Not like a person who decides that the earth is flat but like a person who decides that the "lord of the rings" trilogy was one movie that was Nine hours and 18 minutes long.

Yes probably everyone except me on the planet defines people by their bodies or something similar. But following consensus is a crummy way to look for truth.

On a side note i think i messed up calling it "personality reincarnation". Too much associated with those words.
Maybe i should have called it "Rebirth of the Mind" or "What makes you you and if it will ever turn up again after you croak"

In short I would leave him/myself all my money because i'd be pretty sure they/i wouldnt spend it all on booze.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:24 am UTC

It's a continuum, though. Every human being on Earth is extremely similar to you. You say that someone identical to you would be you, but what you really mean is that you are just another someone identical to you. (Realistically, the only one truly identical.) So you could decide any point on that range was significant.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Nem » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

FierceContinent wrote:nem ok. a person's identity is defined by *a* core personality
There would be no continuity. There would be a recurring pattern of how a person is viewed from the outside and also the other way round.


Ok, whose core personality? Surely just any old core personality won't do. If I put some randomly chosen core personality in Bob's body, do I now have Bob? Or are the chances that I probably have some third person wearing a Bob suit?

You've not offered us anything about a particular personality that makes it Bob's. You're just using an empty term - you may as well say that Bob's personality makes him Bob because it instantiates Bob's soul, or Bob's essence. It would be about as meaningful as saying it instantiated his core emotions or what have you. Having said that it instantiates whatever, you can't do anything more than you could a moment ago.

All you're really saying is "Whatever makes Bob himself, well wherever that occurs we'll have Bob."

Which is really just to say "Wherever Bob is: there he is."

But, since you don't know what makes Bob himself, you can't really argue that it's probable that it will reoccur on any finite timeline. You can't even, strictly speaking, say that what makes Bob himself exists entirely in his head – it may well be that Bob would be an entirely different person, if Bob's mind was held more or less constant and he had different environmental conditions around him. Nor can you reject mind-body dualism (or any other theory about reincarnation or the absence thereof) on those grounds.

At the end of the argument, even if the argument evaluates to be logically valid, (i.e. you run through your assumptions and get 'true' out at the other end,) you haven't got any more information out of the argument than you put in. You haven't managed to say anything about the world, you've just described something about how certain terms map onto each other in your head.

I don't want to come off as a massive downer on this though. This is a much more general problem in philosophy: What is it about a thing that makes it THAT thing? It's not specifically a problem with personal identity and philosophers have been arguing the toss out of it for hundreds of years in one form or another. If you want to be able to get any significant information out of the argument at the other end, if you want to be able to say anything about how the world actually is; then you need to solve that problem as well. Personal identity is just a rather tricky thing that conflates the problem of identity (What makes this thing THIS thing) and the problem of personality (what makes a chair a chair, what makes Bob Bob....)

The former of those questions people will often answer by reference to a unique location in time and space. The latter of those questions is still up in the air.

However, it seems to me even if you solve the latter, unless you solve the former in a particular way people could still meaningfully reply that they didn't just want any Bob, (just as they could meaningfully reply, looking at the broken remnants of their chair that they didn't just want any chair) they wanted THEIR Bob. If you solve the problem of personality to be a pattern - then you may well find that the problem of identity still scuppers many of the intuitions that make reincarnation a desirable thing to argue for anyway.

And if it turns out that the question of personality is completed by reference not just to Bob's internal state of mind, but to his external stimuli – or if the question of personality is determined by saying that Bob is a particular part of a greater pattern; part of the history of the world, to which you're making reference – what people mean by 'Bob' may well end up defined in such a way that he couldn't recur even on an infinite time-line. Bob's definition may not actually be a bound set.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:13 am UTC

Copper bezel. I'd say there are natural separaters : grumpy gracious energetic psychotic kind wise etc etc etc; combinations creating distinct patterns of mind that are recognisably distinct.
like how the continuum of light waves make the recognisable colours.
If there was a rebirth that was exactly halfway between me and bob myself id call that half a win.
Possibly possibly if you take away our environment and the people who surround us, our insanities and loves and quirks and ambitions and fears and hobbies would be in sufficient for any rational mind to even try dividing us and we would find that we are all just one person in 7 billion bodies.

That would have its own consquences.

Nem What makes bob bob?
A pattern of neurons(or equivalent to neurons).

Mind dody dualism isnt really a deal breaker it just involves more factors and rebirth would happen less often.


No, i haven't created any new information but i have created ( as far i know) a new way of percieving information.



Naturally i'm saying that my answer to the philisophical question is form.
Everything is defined by form.
All properties come from how the parts react to each other.

And yes nem some people, probably everyone reads this will decide to stick to their old way of percieving identity, but i had to try.


The question of external stimuli . I think defining a person only by consistent internal factors is pretty reasonable. Otherwise something like moving house would be as significant as death.

Its important to realise that this is defined on a personal level if i feel that a red hot temper makes a candidate for being my future self not me then i have every right to feel disappointed there are a lot of guys with red hot tempers.

Just as i can feel amused by the statisical probability that there is an asteroid out there in there in the shape of Audrey Hepburn's butt
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby setzer777 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:05 pm UTC

The problem of identity is an interesting one. Sometimes I float the idea that it's defined by continuity, and that every time "my" consciousness ceases (such as dreamless portions of sleep), it actually dies, and a new consciousness is "born" (perhaps "generated") borrowing all of the memories of the previous ones. It is no more the same person as a clone with uploaded memories.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:The problem of identity is an interesting one. Sometimes I float the idea that it's defined by continuity, and that every time "my" consciousness ceases (such as dreamless portions of sleep), it actually dies, and a new consciousness is "born" (perhaps "generated") borrowing all of the memories of the previous ones. It is no more the same person as a clone with uploaded memories.
I used to have this thought a lot when I was younger; the idea that the only 'me' was the me of the moment, and it was doomed to die in the very next instant.

I've been told that consciousness is an emergent process, and that when you really think about it, it's a product of so many factors that rendering it to one 'property' is silly--if you took my brain out of my body and put it in a jar, that wouldn't be me (you need the rest of my body, which informs so much of my behavior). In a sense, taking my entire body out of its context and putting it in a jar wouldn't be me either--because as much as I am a product of my body's various processes, I am also a product of my environment's ongoing processes. So for a truly incorporating definition of consciousness, you can't just use my brain, or my body--you need everything around me.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Outchanter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:41 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:So for a truly incorporating definition of consciousness, you can't just use my brain, or my body--you need everything around me.

Hence culture shock. Then you adapt in response to your surroundings. (Unless you're shunted into the vacuum of space, in which case you rapidly cease to be a functioning lifeform.)

The question of identity is, I think, one of fuzzy correlation. You're not exactly the same person you were a minute ago. But the difference between yourself now and yourself a minute ago is much, much smaller than that between yourself and any other person.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:41 am UTC

Any other person?
Have you checked?
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Outchanter » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:13 am UTC

Given the ridiculously huge number of random factors that go into people's development, I am extremely confident.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:19 pm UTC

But how many of those factors actually count?
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby Kryigerofe » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:05 pm UTC

FierceContinent wrote:But how many of those factors actually count?


A little fun math: Let's assume every "factor" is a binary state (you either have or don't have some trait), and that these factors are not dependent on each other. I doubt you can claim our personality is built in any simpler a way than that. Now, the number of possible combinations of n number of different factors are as follows:

x = 34: ~8 600 000 000 (This is more than there are people on Earth at the moment.)
x = 70: ~600 x 10^18 (This is more than there would be people if we colonized every star in our galaxy with as many people as there are people on Earth today. Admittedly, we could probably fit more people in the galaxy with some creativity.)
x = 100: ~1.2 x 10^30 (If the population of the aforementioned galaxy goes through 4 generations a century, this is how many people you get in 5 Trillion years.

So I think you'd have to be fairly lenient in what you consider similar personalities if you wish to be reborn any time soon.

(I may have made errors there, but probably not in more than a few orders of magnitude.)
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby setzer777 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:20 am UTC

FierceContinent wrote:But how many of those factors actually count?


To me the central problem of identity is that there is no non-arbitrary answer to that question. Whenever we count any two things as being "similar enough to be the same thing" (including "me" in two different times/locations), we are engaging in semi-arbitrary classification, not viewing some underlying unified substance.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby morriswalters » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:20 am UTC

Duality, that would be like a soul wouldn't it. However it is simpler to just go with what you have.

The Great Hippo wrote:I've been told that consciousness is an emergent process, and that when you really think about it, it's a product of so many factors that rendering it to one 'property' is silly--if you took my brain out of my body and put it in a jar, that wouldn't be me (you need the rest of my body, which informs so much of my behavior). In a sense, taking my entire body out of its context and putting it in a jar wouldn't be me either--because as much as I am a product of my body's various processes, I am also a product of my environment's ongoing processes. So for a truly incorporating definition of consciousness, you can't just use my brain, or my body--you need everything around me.


An emergent property is the current way of thinking of the process. In terms of your brain, give some thought to this. Your brain is, deaf, dumb, blind, and isolated thoroughly. Given sufficient knowledge of the signaling mechanism that the nervous system uses it is not out of the question to spoof your brain into believing that it has a body even if it doesn't.

As to everything else, the brain is all there is, unless of course you believe in a soul. It makes the world you see, and it changes from second to second. For me to believe that there was some way to transfer a personality, I would need to see a process that could reproduce that brain at an instant in time. And the two personalities would start to diverge the second the new personality became separate. And the longer from that point the less alike they would be.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:24 pm UTC

Kryigerofe: x is probably around -say- 40 incorporating the effect of multiple levels and other complications . The subconcious is pretty dumb.

Setzer: Consider an asteroid that looks like Tony Danza. Recognising it as such is a semi-arbitrary classification.But i bet he'd find it amusing(signifiant) to know that chances are there probably is one.
The whole reincarnation thing is essentially important on an emotional level -ego for yourself - love for those you have lost. It is feeling that is the underlying unifing idea. Therefore "feeling the same thing as you when they look at a sunset" or "hating bullies" or "being a worthless alcoholic" is more important than percentages of matching memories.
The flip side of this would be if someone still alive had a stroke or traumatic experience and their personality changed and you lost an emotional connection. Their body and a lot of their mind would still be there but you would lose a comforting person.
i'm not saying it can't being measured mathematically just that it need to be more about psychology than individual neurons.

Morriswalters: The normal process of making a person -life- is the only non science fiction process i can thing of that would reproduce the core personality. Of course it would take Billions of lives. I don't think it actually has to happen in front of you to be reasonable.
Also your personality changes after this instant anyway.

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I'm impressed by how scary smart you all are and appreciate the courtesy.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby setzer777 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:58 pm UTC

Well, emotionally speaking most people would be discomforted by the idea of there being another person out there with just as much claim to their identity. What they basically want is a "soul" - a unique substance that persists after their body dies.
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:15 am UTC

True
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby philsov » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:41 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:
FierceContinent wrote:But how many of those factors actually count?


To me the central problem of identity is that there is no non-arbitrary answer to that question. Whenever we count any two things as being "similar enough to be the same thing" (including "me" in two different times/locations), we are engaging in semi-arbitrary classification, not viewing some underlying unified substance.


Piggy backing of this, the metric matters.

If we were to say that "identical personality" is the same MBTI output with a tolerance of +/- 1 point (ie, I'm 83 introvert, so acceptable bounds is 82-84), then I'm sure there's probably thousands of people "just like me". If we narrow the field with a 1000-point series of gambits and response checking (or 10000 or 100000, arbitrarily large), we can make "you" so well-defined that there are literally zero people "just like me." If you're arguing from the endpoint of "metric results that produce one and only one other individual" instead of the aspects that MAKE you you in the first place, then we're free to either add in or rule out whatever we want to achieve this end. We can call "likes to pop bubbles in gum" a worthwhile and necessary trait while "likes rock music" can be thrown on (on the basis that liking rock will prevent THE ONE from being the one.)
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Re: personality reincarnation

Postby FierceContinent » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:18 pm UTC

ooo cool
you could actually use this to find uncle albert ..or at least make a vague attempt
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