The Big Question: Why Am I Me?

Look into a mirror. What do you see? A hottie like the girl in the picture? Do you see your self? This is a bit of a tricky question: when the great Scottish philosopher David Hume tried to conduct this experiment, he found no self at all, even through introspection! Let's ignore it for the moment, but three centuries of research into this question hasn't quite provided definite answers to Hume's challenge.

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield thinks that in order to answer the question of what makes you you, we first have to understand three fundamental ideas about how the brain works: minds, emotions, and consciousness. Understanding these questions will then presumably tell us how the brain produces your self. The scientific study of cognition, perception and emotion is making great progress. When it comes to consciousness, however, we are not quite sure how to even get started (as you can see in the mysterious documentary series Brainspotting).

If our minds are the result of the biochemical and electric signals in our brains, I don't quite see why Greenfield would be so quick to dismiss the idea that machines could ever be conscious and/or have emotions without having to reject her materialist metaphysical assumptions. Either add something to the mix, or bite the bullet, but leave us some cake!

For more important topics, such as why we are here, check out The Big Questions tag.
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