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Date Posted: 08:15
Author: ketch
Subject: Re: No Brain = No Mind
In reply to: Eponymous 's message, "Re: No Brain = No Mind" on 08:14

Nice try, but I doubt if any medical experimenters would accept this as proof of awareness independent of brain function.

I had thought that MRI scans measured tissue structure rather than neural activity, but lets suppose that a reliable method of measuring brain activity is available. Presumably there will always be a minimum of brain activity required to maintain life, and so little is known of brain-consciousness interaction that it could always be argued that this minimal activity was enough to allow estimates of the passage of time. Even when no neural activity was detected, it will always be argued that the fact that such a person "came back to life" shows the brain had never really stopped working altogether. We would ideally need to be able to put someone in a state of complete suspended animation, which is not currently possible.

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” – Ford Prefect in “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”

Someone in an isolation chamber may experience difficulty in estimating time when deprived of sensory input. Time belongs to the physical universe, and measurement of time may be different if there is no awareness of the physical.

Even if the suggested experiment were to be carried out and someone succeeded in estimating the length of time there could be plenty of valid explanations apart from consciousness during the experiment. There would have to be some sort of agreed limit on the duration of the experiment for safety reasons. The body gives plenty of clues to time passage such as the growth of stubble on men, growth of nails, digestion of food, filling of the bladder, and probably some cycles of various lengths which we all go through. The brain is probably capable of making an estimate from such data, at least in a minority of people.

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