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Ability to alter thoughts = Loss of Identity?

CatGoddess

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I was thinking about this mostly in terms of a self-improving AI or a human who gained access to their own psyche, but feel free to pose other situations. Basically, though, if a being could change its own personality, likes/dislikes, desires, thoughts, feelings, etc. at will, would that result in a loss of identity? If you can be anyone, including people with mental states and motives never-before-seen, are you really a unique individual/"person" anymore?
 

Hadoblado

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Identity is only a useful concept. It doesn't hold up very well to theseusian deconstruction.

The best I can come up with is that identity is one and the same if a later state is the direct result of former state, and believes itself to be the same state.
 

Cognisant

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I think Hado just nailed it.

There's also the potential for a whole new range of mental disorders based on people changing their minds to suit their circumstances and some people getting addicted to changing themselves for the sake of change.
 

washti

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Considering a human it depends on how much and what exactly would be aware of, how much would remember and how far could control over this skill.

In the sense of personal identity, such a person can build concept of self on this ability to change. The goal could be to achieve full identity after passing all combinations. Believing that every previous version of self was the present larva, such a person could build a belief about being a psycho-morph, wondering how long s/he will be a chrysalis before reaching final identity.

Would personality change be equal to the skill of a physical camouflage? In the end, other people would perceive this person as the same body, subject to the same sequence of events as they do.This human would probably be considered just crazy. And without a sense of belonging, lack of a group as a reference point, it would involve a loss of social identity and caused sociopathy.

But how would a body undergoing constant changes of will function?
Would this not lead to dysregulation of the nervous and hormonal systems?

To not be seriously ill, such a person would have to be in a state of perfect self regulation. Be able to generate and process data over the evolutionary process. To do so would need different info paths than those based on DNA and collected by the body during interactions with the environment.
 

Serac

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yes, and that is why most people would rather engage in self-destructive behavior than changing one's habits of thoughts and behavior. An illusion of self is a built-in instinct and is a powerful one, to the point where it takes precedence over many others (which makes sense, because without an identity instinct, you don't have the incentive to do anything that preserves and perpetuates your genes).
 
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