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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
Abstract of "Personal Identity, Brain Transplantation, and Intersex Surgery"
University of Manchester, South Kensington Campus, Manchester, M13 9PL UK
After the first head transplantation in animals, personal identity theoriesrefuted/buttressed by imaginary thought experiments (that are logically possible albeit technologically impossible at present)have shed more light on the essence of persons, i.e., on whether or not the brain or brain function constitutes a necessary (albeit insufficient) condition to personal identity. The essence of what we are, or I am, may become more evident once it is inserted into the personal identity (PI) equation, which states: Person (or entity) 2 (P2) today (t2) is one and the same person/entity as P1 at some past time (t1) if and only if P2 and P1 behold the same properties. Discovering the reality of such properties (i.e., the necessary and sufficient conditions of the PI equation) ought to elucidate the nature and essence of man. First, the paper illustrates how real science together with the philosophic tool of thought experimentation may assist us to appreciate that man's essence cannot involve something material. Next, the phenomenon of human brain transplantation will be discussed, focusing on (i) the concept of the I and (ii) the ethical ramifications of such a surgery within today's nanotechnological era. The concepts of gender and intersex surgery may be substantially altered were such a practice to be realized one day.
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