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  #1  
Old 07-21-2013, 04:18 AM
wstewart wstewart is offline
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Default Dar al-Hikma

Isolating one essay scenario,

and placing it under the spotlight,

I'll ask:

Does Old Paul pass to New?
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wstewart View Post
Isolating one essay scenario,

and placing it under the spotlight,

I'll ask:

Does Old Paul pass to New?
I think this thread is spawning crackpotpuppies :)
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

:welcome: Wayne, my old adversary from the Dawkins board. :D Nice to see you again.
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

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Originally Posted by davidm View Post
peacegirl, since wayne stewart (wstewart) has arrived, why don't you explain to him Lessans' ideas on what happens when we die, and see if he agrees?
The question - an isolated and I think relevant question - was, "Does Old Paul pass to New?"

Old and New Paul present a natural scenario. The question should therefore have definite answer in nature.

What do you think the answer is?

Incidentally, I put the question to davidm three years ago. He hasn't attempted an answer.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

Actually, Wayne, I have answered the question, but let's start afresh.

I think perhaps it would be helpful to outline a taxonomy of claims about what happens when we die.

Here are the ones that come to mind:

1. Metaphysical supernaturalism holds that when I die, something about me, a "soul" or some such, survives my death, and meets God. In the Christian idea, Jesus will show his boundless love for me by hurling me, or my soul or whatever, into an eternal lake of fire. Given my particular nature, I'm sure I'm bound for the fire if MS is true. :D

2. Metaphysical naturalism holds that when I die, I am permanently extinguished, and can anticipate nothing after death. BTW, I think Tom Clark makes a big mistake in explicating this idea in the opening part of his essay at naturalism.org. The people he quotes, I think, are speaking metaphorically. No one is trying to reify nothingness, as Clark supposes. It's not as if, at death, we will find ourselves floating in a sea of blackness, and, floundering around, say, "Oh, noes! I'm in a sea of blackness!" :ohnoes: Rather, it is that all experience and sensation shall cease, as it does every night when we are in deep, dreamless sleep. No one "finds himself" in deep, dreamless sleep, and complains about it. If one were able to complain about it, one would not be in deep, dreamless sleep.

3. Reincarnation holds that some essential part of me, a soul, will transmigrate from a dead vessel to a new living vessel, thus preserving, in a different guise, some irreducible "I."

4. Existential Passage/Generic Subjective Continuity holds ... and Wayne, I invite you to fill in the blank.

BTW, it really is nice to see you again, glad you stopped by. :wave:
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

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Actually, Wayne, I have answered the question...
That's a demonstrably untrue statement, and it should raise eyebrows among those who are considering the question.

Review your posts and state the truth of the matter. Else you'll tie yourself willfully to a demonstrably untrue statement.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Actually, Wayne, I have answered the question...
That's a demonstrably untrue statement, and it should raise eyebrows among those who are considering the question.

Review your posts and state the truth of the matter. Else you'll tie yourself willfully to a demonstrably untrue statement.
Well, Wayne, if you think it's demonstrably untrue, then you're entitled to your opinion. Let's suppose, arguendo, that it's demonstrably untrue that I gave an answer at the Dawkins board. I now propose to answer you here. Fair enough? I've nothing against you and genuinely enjoyed our conversation/jousting, however you prefer to characterize it. :D So I will answer any question that you have here. I propose that we start afresh. In the meantime, did you see my taxonomy of claims about what happens after we die? Can you fill in the blank for existential passage/generic subjective continuity? I would prefer you do it so there is no misunderstanding. I also would like you to take a look at Lessans' writings on this subject, if peacegirl would be so good as to share them with you, and let me know what you think of them vis-a-vis exisential passage.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

I have a question for Peacegirl, DavidM, and Wstewart, or anyone else, if any of them would choose to answer.

Useing Wstwart's example. If Nicos dies and every precedeing person who has died has been transfered (lacking a better term) to a new individual, and Thanos and Charlie are the next people who are born, and no-one else dies. Who gets this 'germinal substance' or how is it devided between the 2 new individuals if there is no-one else? If one person dies and two are born, what happenes to whatever it is that is passed from one individual to the next?
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

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Useing Wstwart's example... Who gets this 'germinal substance'...?
Essay reasoning is not as you suggest.

In this thread I've isolated the essay's preparatory scenario of Old and New Paul, with reason. E.g., it's easy to see that no 'germinal substance' is posited in that scenario.

What is posited?

And in your view, is anything more required, in order to justify the essay's conclusion that Old Paul passes to New?
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

It seems to me Chapter 9 is not going to be sufficient to elucidate the basic idea. It needs also at least Chapter 11.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

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Originally Posted by wstewart View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
Useing Wstwart's example... Who gets this 'germinal substance'...?
Essay reasoning is not as you suggest.

In this thread I've isolated the essay's preparatory scenario of Old and New Paul, with reason. E.g., it's easy to see that no 'germinal substance' is posited in that scenario.

What is posited?

And in your view, is anything more required, in order to justify the essay's conclusion that Old Paul passes to New?
I think most people would reply that Old Paul has "passed" to new Paul. The reason is that the substance of old Paul remains in New Paul, including the physical brain, shared by both Old and New. What has changed is the pattern of thoughts, the mentation, that supervenes on the physical brain. But since the substance of Old Paul continues in New Paul, albeit with a different pattern, it makes sense to posit a form of passage.

We could imagine an opposite state of affairs: that the pattern remains the same, but the substance on which the pattern supervenes is constantly changed or renewed. This is a Ship of Theseus scenario. What makes us tempted to conclude that it is the same ship, even though all its constituent parts have changed over time, is that the pattern that the parts exeplify remains the same.

So: We can imagine a pattern changing while supervening on the same underlying substance, as is the case with Old Paul and New Paul; or we can imagine the underlying substance changing, but the pattern it exemplifies remaining the same over time. Both cases tend to support the continuity of personal identity, or ship identity in the case of Theseus, over time.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

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I have a question for Peacegirl, DavidM, and Wstewart, or anyone else, if any of them would choose to answer.

Who gets this 'germinal substance' ...
TBH, I think focusing on this term "germinal substance" is a bit of red herring. I think all Lessans meant by this is a colorful way to describe the never-ending biological life processes that constantly give rise to the subjective sense of "I" among different people. The point to focus on, is the nature of these individual "I"s and not the stuff they arise from.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

Is it OK for me to ask what might be dumb questions as I read the links as I go along or would you rather that I waited until you guys were done?
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

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Thanks but I did mean David. He already knows that I don't speak fluent philosophy.
You mean about the existential passage stuff? I think you should ask any questions you want, when you want to, but I'm also thinking it might be helpful to split the discussion of existential passage to its own thread, to avoid all the background noise of the other discussion on light and sight, etc.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

OK then I'll ask just one now and then see if you split it off. I'm reading the first link and I got through all of the William James stuff just fine and then I got to the part right after Nicos died and it says

Quote:
We say that Nicos no longer lives.

But to say that Nicos "no longer lives" is to state a purely objective, external view of his death. Nicos' subjective, internal view ...
I came to a full stop right there. What subjective internal view? He's dead. That means to me that he doesn't get to have any kind of view of anything at all, subjective or not, so I don't know why anyone is talking about it like it's a thing that still exists. Am I being too literal or stuck in my atheist world view that there is nothing after death but nothing?
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:17 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
I have a question for Peacegirl, DavidM, and Wstewart, or anyone else, if any of them would choose to answer.

Who gets this 'germinal substance' ...
TBH, I think focusing on this term "germinal substance" is a bit of red herring. I think all Lessans meant by this is a colorful way to describe the never-ending biological life processes that constantly give rise to the subjective sense of "I" among different people. The point to focus on, is the nature of these individual "I"s and not the stuff they arise from.

Holy fuckin shit, it feels like I'm talking to a couple of idiots who can't read, I don't care what the fuck you call it, who gets it. If one person dies and two are born at the same time and only one bit of "Germinal Substance" is avaliable, Who gets it? Or how is it devided to create two new people when only one has died?
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:38 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
I have a question for Peacegirl, DavidM, and Wstewart, or anyone else, if any of them would choose to answer.

Who gets this 'germinal substance' ...
TBH, I think focusing on this term "germinal substance" is a bit of red herring. I think all Lessans meant by this is a colorful way to describe the never-ending biological life processes that constantly give rise to the subjective sense of "I" among different people. The point to focus on, is the nature of these individual "I"s and not the stuff they arise from.

Holy fuckin shit, it feels like I'm talking to a couple of idiots who can't read, I don't care what the fuck you call it, who gets it. If one person dies and two are born at the same time and only one bit of "Germinal Substance" is avaliable, Who gets it? Or how is it devided to create two new people when only one has died?
If you would go to Wayne Stewart's book, begin at chapter nine and read all the way through to the end, all these questions will be answered. Whether you find the reasoning valid or sound is another matter, but I suggest it's important to get right on the concept that Lessans, Clark and Stewart are advocating.

Nobody "gets" any germinal substance, or anything else physical. To quote Wayne from chapter eleven:

Quote:
As before no "thing" transfers through the existential passage, either from Nicos to Thanos, or else from Magnus to Thanos. The existential passage remains purely subjective.
Bold face mine.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

IOW, this explains the term "generic subjective continuity." Dropping all personal pronouns, which lead straightaway to confusion on the concept on offer, what is being said is that there is the permanent extinguishment of a consciousness x, followed by a generic subjective continuity to future person y. In the case of existential passage, what passes is not physical, or a soul, but subjective existentialism. In the case of "germinal substance," Lessans is only using this as a colorful metaphor for ongoing biological processes that keeping spawning subjective "I"s, with an identical conceptual generic subjectivity from one "I" to the next "I." Whatever one thinks of this argument, if it's going to be argued at all, the claim has to be correctly identified. If I've erred in this description, Wayne will let me know, I expect.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

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Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
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Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
I have a question for Peacegirl, DavidM, and Wstewart, or anyone else, if any of them would choose to answer.

Who gets this 'germinal substance' ...
TBH, I think focusing on this term "germinal substance" is a bit of red herring. I think all Lessans meant by this is a colorful way to describe the never-ending biological life processes that constantly give rise to the subjective sense of "I" among different people. The point to focus on, is the nature of these individual "I"s and not the stuff they arise from.

Holy fuckin shit, it feels like I'm talking to a couple of idiots who can't read, I don't care what the fuck you call it, who gets it. If one person dies and two are born at the same time and only one bit of "Germinal Substance" is avaliable, Who gets it? Or how is it devided to create two new people when only one has died?
If you would go to Wayne Stewart's book, begin at chapter nine and read all the way through to the end, all these questions will be answered. Whether you find the reasoning valid or sound is another matter, but I suggest it's important to get right on the concept that Lessans, Clark and Stewart are advocating.

Nobody "gets" any germinal substance, or anything else physical. To quote Wayne from chapter eleven:

Quote:
As before no "thing" transfers through the existential passage, either from Nicos to Thanos, or else from Magnus to Thanos. The existential passage remains purely subjective.
Bold face mine.
You rail at Peacegirl for not providing a synopsis of the book, and now you tell me I need to go read a book rather than give me a brief account of the relevant concepts?
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:01 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

Quote:
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Quote:
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Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
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Originally Posted by davidm View Post
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Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
I have a question for Peacegirl, DavidM, and Wstewart, or anyone else, if any of them would choose to answer.

Who gets this 'germinal substance' ...
TBH, I think focusing on this term "germinal substance" is a bit of red herring. I think all Lessans meant by this is a colorful way to describe the never-ending biological life processes that constantly give rise to the subjective sense of "I" among different people. The point to focus on, is the nature of these individual "I"s and not the stuff they arise from.

Holy fuckin shit, it feels like I'm talking to a couple of idiots who can't read, I don't care what the fuck you call it, who gets it. If one person dies and two are born at the same time and only one bit of "Germinal Substance" is avaliable, Who gets it? Or how is it devided to create two new people when only one has died?
If you would go to Wayne Stewart's book, begin at chapter nine and read all the way through to the end, all these questions will be answered. Whether you find the reasoning valid or sound is another matter, but I suggest it's important to get right on the concept that Lessans, Clark and Stewart are advocating.

Nobody "gets" any germinal substance, or anything else physical. To quote Wayne from chapter eleven:

Quote:
As before no "thing" transfers through the existential passage, either from Nicos to Thanos, or else from Magnus to Thanos. The existential passage remains purely subjective.
Bold face mine.
You rail at Peacegirl for not providing a synopsis of the book, and now you tell me I need to go read a book rather than give me a brief account of the relevant concepts?
Er, but I AM giving you a brief account.

As to the rest, subjective awareness created ex nihilo happens under EP, as does merger: One, two, three or many people die, and subjective continuity from all those people continues in only one future person. There can also be splits: subjectivity continuity continuance from dead x to newborn twins y and z, for example.

BTW, Wayne's book isn't that long, and especially to get to the main point you can skip the first eight chapters and read from Chapter 9 on. I don't see why doing so is such a big deal, if you want to discuss this. In the case of peacegirl, several of us, including you I believe, DID read the whole book; what we were contesting is her own inability, ever, to provide her own summary of the main points, in her own words. Now I have summarized Wayne's thesis for you; if I've erred, as I say, I expect he will inform me.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:41 AM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

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What has changed is the pattern of thoughts, the mentation, that supervenes on the physical brain. But since the substance of Old Paul continues in New Paul, albeit with a different pattern, it makes sense to posit a form of passage.

...We can imagine a pattern changing while supervening on the same underlying substance, as is the case with Old Paul and New Paul...
And that explains the passage of Old Paul to New, by your lights?

Mapping your vague statements to the Old/New Paul scenario:

Old Paul has encountered James' unfelt time-gap during the loss of thought and memory associated with the deep coma injury.

Old Paul's thoughts fail when the injury's unfelt time-gap begins. By inference, your "pattern of thoughts" must also be lost at the start.

Meanwhile the body continues non-conscious functions: e.g., cycling your "substances", through the incessant reactions of metabolism.

What then is the "same underlying substance" that remains throughout the unfelt time-gap, with the functional power to pass Old Paul to New whenever the time-gap ends?

Bone?

Water?

Pneuma?

Last edited by wstewart; 07-22-2013 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:06 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

It seems evident to me that what links Old Paul and New Paul is the physical brain and body.

We may say, under some ideas of personhood, that Old Paul and New Paul are two different persons. But it's plain that their different "personhoods" supervene on the same brain and body.

Yes, the "pattern of thoughts" is obliterated at the moment of brain injury. There is an unfelt time gap, agreed. And then New Paul emerges. But New Paul remains supervenient on the same physical body and brain, no?

I agree that Old Paul "passes" to New Paul, but we understand this in terms of an objective physical link: brain (though rearranged) and body.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

To be more precise:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wstewart View Post

What then is the "same underlying substance" that remains throughout the unfelt time-gap, with the functional power to pass Old Paul to New whenever the time-gap ends?

Bone?

Water?

Pneuma?
The brain.

The brain is rearranged by the crippling coma, but in actuality, this happens to us every second of every day. Every moment I have an experience, rearranging my brain. Still, I retain a sense of personal continuity; in the case of Old Paul, personal continuity is obliterated and New Paul emerges with a clean slate. But they share the same brain. So we have an objective link between the two, though we may rightly regard them as two different persons.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Does Old Paul pass to New?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
To be more precise:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wstewart View Post

What then is the "same underlying substance" that remains throughout the unfelt time-gap, with the functional power to pass Old Paul to New whenever the time-gap ends?

Bone?

Water?

Pneuma?
The brain.

The brain is rearranged by the crippling coma, but in actuality, this happens to us every second of every day. Every moment I have an experience, rearranging my brain. Still, I retain a sense of personal continuity; in the case of Old Paul, personal continuity is obliterated and New Paul emerges with a clean slate. But they share the same brain. So we have an objective link between the two, though we may rightly regard them as two different persons.
"Every second of every day" there is at least passive awareness to provide a functional continuity to the individual's subjective existence. This corresponds roughly with James' "felt time-gaps", which are at least dimly perceived.

This functional continuity is lost in the Old/New Paul scenario. Hence the unfelt time-gap.

More to the point: The scenario's unfelt time-gap removes the functional continuity you count upon in daily life. By design. In this scenario Old Paul's injury has disabled functions that sustain thought, subjectivity and personal identity, or your "personal continuity". The functions are temporarily... gone. In their absence there is no functional link in the brain - only the non-functional "substance".

If you assert that non-functional "substance" - brain or other - can actively pass Old Paul to New, you'll be arguing for something that I cannot distinguish from magic. Is that where you're going?
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: A revolution in thought

Wayne, you're saying the brain does not pass Old Paul to New Paul? But unless I misunderstand you completely, you are saying that there is a passage from Old Paul to New. Is that not right?

So what is passing? Pure subjectivity?

But what I'm pointing out is that however we want to parse this scenario, it is a plain fact that Old Paul and New Paul share an existent brain.

What do Thanos and Nicos share?
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