Teleportation and LSD trips could help us understand the nature of personal identityby Jim Holt / June 23, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
“Once your brain is vaporised, the lights go out for good. Even an exact physical duplicate of your body and brain would not be you—although it would certainly believe it was.”
Most of us, when we look in the mirror, have a sense that behind the eyes looking back at us is a me-ish thing: a self. But this, we are increasingly told, is an illusion. Why? Well, according to neuroscientists, there is no single place in the brain that generates a self. According to psychologists, there is no little commander-in-chief in our heads directing our behaviour. According to philosophers, there is no “Cartesian ego” unifying our consciousness, no unchanging core of identity that makes us the same person from day to day; there is only an ever-shifting bundle of thoughts, feelings and memories.