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Tranplants of memories

Started by Geremia, October 31, 2017, 10:51:14 AM

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Quaeritur: [it] possible that a scientist perfoms a transplant in which he takes a memory (as it is commonly understood) from a brain and inserts it into another. That way one could "remember" things that happened to other people.

I'll provide an example. Person A took a cup of coffee today at 10h00 AM. Person A has a memory of that event. Now, is it possible that the memory of such event could be transplanted to the brain of a person B, so that person B gets to possess the memory of that event as if it were his? That way, person B gets to "remember" something that happened to person A in the past. Such a scenario would imply that memories could be transplanted. Person B would remember the first person experience of taking a cup of coffee at 10h00 AM as if he was person A.
The brain is a sensory organ, so, yes, it would be possible to alter Person B's brain so that he senses what Person A senses when remembering that he took a cup of coffee at 10AM. However, "The a faculty intrinsically independent of any organ" (17th of the 24th Thomistic Theses), so Person B could use his intellect/reason to know that his senses are being deceived, that he really didn't take coffee at 10AM as Person A did.
 See:esp. the last ¶ of the corpus (I answer that...):
Quod...recipitur in aliquo, recipitur in eo secundum modum recipientis. Intellectus autem est magis stabilis naturae et immobilis, quam materia corporalis. Si ergo materia corporalis formas quas recipit, non solum tenet dum per eas agit in actu, sed etiam postquam agere per eas cessaverit; multo fortius intellectus immobiliter et inamissibiliter recipit species intelligibiles, sive a sensibilibus acceptas, sive etiam ab aliquo superiori intellectu effluxas. Sic igitur, si memoria accipiatur solum pro vi conservativa specierum, oportet dicere memoriam esse in intellectiva parte. Si vero de ratione memoriae sit quod eius obiectum sit praeteritum, ut praeteritum; memoria in parte intellectiva non erit, sed sensitiva tantum, quae est apprehensiva particularium. Praeteritum enim, ut praeteritum, cum significet esse sub determinato tempore, ad conditionem particularis pertinet. ...what is received into something is received according to the conditions of the recipient. But the intellect is of a more stable nature, and is more immovable than corporeal nature. If, therefore, corporeal matter holds the forms which it receives, not only while it actually does something through them, but also after ceasing to act through them, much more cogent reason is there for the intellect to receive the species unchangeably and lastingly, whether it receive them from things sensible, or derive them from some superior intellect. Thus, therefore, if we take memory only for the power of retaining species, we must say that it is in the intellectual part. But if in the notion of memory we include its object as something past, then the memory is not in the intellectual, but only in the sensitive part, which apprehends individual things. For past, as past, since it signifies being under a condition of fixed time, is something individual.
He distinguishes two types of memory:
  • intellectual memory: "only for the power of retaining species*"; "is in the intellectual part [of the soul]"
  • sensitive memory: "not in the intellectual, but only in the sensitive part", "which apprehends individual things**", and has "something past" for its object
*Species are impressions on the senses.    **The intellect apprehends universal things.

felix festum Omnium Sanctorum.