Are we our brains? Or, put another way, if your brain was transplanted into another body, would ‘You’ go with the brain? For an alternative perspective on this fundamentally puzzling question turn to Walter Glannon, associate professor of philosophy and Canada Research Chair in Medical Bioethics and Ethical Theory at the University of Calgary. In contrast to many neuroscientists, who consider that our minds are simply a function of our brains, professor Glannon instead contends that : Our brains are not us in his recent paper published in the journal Bioethics,volume 23, Issue 6, pages 321–329, July 2009.
“…the mind emerges from and is shaped by interaction among the brain, body, and environment. The mind is not located in the brain but is distributed among these three entities.“
Thus, according to the professor, implications for possible future brain transplants follow:
“Given the ways in which the environment shapes our experience of interacting with the world and others, a different environment would result in different content and meaning of a person’s experience and memory of this interaction. This is why transplanting a brain into a different body – if it ever became feasible – would not preserve the identity of the person whose brain was transplanted.” (our emphasis)
A full copy of the paper can be found here :
Coming soon; Brain transplants : the implications [#3]