Memory and personal identity

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Pedro Lopes

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Nov 4, 2017, 3:36:27 PM11/4/17
to Quaestiones Disputatae: The Ite ad Thomam Forum
Memory is a very important human function. Through memory we have a sense of personal identity and continued existence. That happens because when one remembers some past event, one remembers being in the past the same person he is now.

However, is that "belief" well grounded? How do we know that our memories really do concern events that were experienced by *us*? What if a scientist made a transplant of a memory from one brain to another? Is that scenario possible? That scientist would transplant from person A to person B the memory of walking through London, even though person B never visited London in his life. Although he never visited London in his life, he would remember walking through London because person A walked through London in the past and acquired a memory of that event. Is this scenario possible? Can one's memories be the result of a transplant?

I think skeptical scenarios like the malignant genius or the brain in a vat one are incoherent. But what about this one? What to think of it from a thomistic point of view?

Best regards!

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