Professor of psychology Susan Blackmore argues that there is no continuity between our present selves and our past selves:
Blackmore seems unaware of the history of this ancient metaphysical problem, called the problem of change. It was the central problem tackled by the pre-Socratic philosophers. How do we explain change? It would seem that everything is change because everything in nature changes with every moment in some respect.
But then it would make more sense to say that the old thing disappeared and the new thing appeared. But in that case, the only way that a thing can come to exist is by coming from that which didn’t exist. And from nothing, nothing can come. That implies that change is an illusion. Either everything is change or nothing is change.
Consider a classic metaphysical paradox: the ship of Theseus. Periodically, a ship undergoes repairs. Parts are gradually replaced until, finally, every bit of matter in the ship has been changed. Is it the same ship? If yes, then how can it be the same ship if not a bit of the matter that was in the original ship is still there? Is it a different ship? It looks and functions exactly the same and common sense tells us it’s the same ship. And if it is a different ship, exactly when did it become different? When the first wooden plank was replaced, or the last? Why choose either?…
But you need not pore over Aristotle’s De Anima to figure out that Blackmore’s denial of personal continuity is rubbish. After all, if Blackmore is not the same person now that she was a moment ago, then it makes no sense to call the YouTube video above an interview with Susan Blackmore. Perhaps it should be called interviews with Susan Blackmores or interviews with countless women, one of whom was Susan Blackmore. Or interviews with women formerly known as Susan Blackmore.Michael Egnor, “Interview with a woman (or women) formerly called Susan Blackmore” at Mind Matters News
Nobody believes that when it matters. It makes a good naturalist dodge though.
My right hemisphere is an atheist! No, wait… In reality, split-brain surgery does not split consciousness in any meaningful sense.
No free will means no justice. Materialist biologist Jerry Coyne doesn’t seem to understand what denying free will would mean for the criminal justice system.