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comment by lil
lil  ·  3534 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Mystery of Personal Identity

Hi CEJoe, I understand the prelinguistic part and you make a valid point. I'm aware of the theories that we cannot remember birth or early childhood because without language, we had no way of categorizing or describing experiences. This would include prenatal experiences as well.

I am suggesting, though, that "I" had a prenatal, neonatal, and prelinguistic life and some part of me experienced that even though I cannot consciously remember those experiences.

The article argues that we are unlike our childhood selves, that the "very atoms that composed her body no longer compose mine." This might be true - I don't know. Nonetheless, the experiences, both remembered and unremembered, are somehow stored in my brain tissue and even if the molecules of the brain tissue have been renewed and are no longer the same as they were (mk, b_b Is that possible?), the "memory" of language or experience exists somewhere in "me."





b_b  ·  3534 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes, we have a constant turnover in molecules, ions, atoms, and it doesn't seem to degrade our memories.

As to "where" a memory is stored, I think that question is part neuroscience and part philosophy. Nobody knows the answer (or if one even exists), but it certainly isn't molecule specific.

mk  ·  3534 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My understanding of memory is limited. I am going to shout out to someone that knows much more on the subject, who might be able to enlighten us: rcvf

AFAIK, memory has more to do with physical connections between cells, and preferred potentiation of those networks. That is, a certain cluster of neurons cells may excite in a specific pattern, which represents memory. I would guess that that pattern is a transformable reflection of the initial experience.

So in terms of long-term storage that extends beyond the cycling of atoms, I believe it is the same car, however most of the parts have been changed one by one. It might physically be a different car, but it drives the same, and that's the functionality that we are concerned with.

lil  ·  3534 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I love the car metaphor. Thanks.

CrazyEyeJoe  ·  3534 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I recommend that you listen to this episode of Radio Lab: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

I think you'll find it quite illuminating.

Basically, it's about how language completely shapes our thought processes. I haven't listened to it in a while, but I found the evidence presented in it to be astounding, and quite convincing. A deaf, grown man without language is taught sign language. Afterwards, he can't remember what it was like to not have language.