NH Baritone wrote:I haven't been following your dialogue, but your question is a bit odd out of that context. It has the feel of a zen koan, which by its nature is not answerable.
But from a naturalistic viewpoint, in many ways you are your liver. Additionally, since liver cells are not immortal (or even that long-lived), your liver's current incarnation formed in your body long after your birth. (It will be a different liver in about a decade, assuming the rest of you lives so long.)
Everything is a process. Your body's processes, in interaction with your environment, create your liver, in the same way that they create your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This of course suggests an additional question: Did you create my liver? (After all, you helped to create this thought I'm typing right now.)
tirtlegrrl wrote:I also think the question is weird, but here's my take:
Angela, described as a conscious being that makes choices, did not create her liver as she was born with it. As she matured, the effect of her environment and what she put in her body affected the way her liver is today. So in a way Angela is responsible for the current state of her liver, but I highly doubt she manufactured her current liver from its constituent atoms and then put it in her body. So in a literal sense no, but if you look at it a different way sort of yes.
mitchellmckain wrote:This question seem to me to be highly related to the question of where our identity lies? Is it in the biological organism or something else. The biological organism created the liver just as much as tomato plants make tomatoes and sheep make wool. Interestingly enough I DO NOT think that our identity is to be found in our biology. I believe that instead that this is found in our mind, which I believe is a living organism in its own right, and so in that sense I would agree with Angela that she did not create her liver. In those terms, I feel like I win either way. LOL However, I am also very well aware that things are not quite that simple and that the mind and body are difficult to seperate and we really do not know where the biology leaves off and the mental begins, so we usually do not distinguish the two as seperate living organisms that are not responsible for what the other one does. If Angela could prove me wrong on this point, I would be completely delighted actually. LOL
There is a deeper issue here of homo-sapien-centrism, where human beings see themselves as occupying a privelidged position in the KNOWN universe as the only living organisms capable of creating anything and that apple trees and cows are inanimate processes which produce apples and milk much the same way that the earth produces gravity by no will of its own but simply by the operation of natural law. Interestingly enough I DO think that human being occupy a privelidged position among the living things of the earth, but I think it is a quantitative difference rather than a qualitative one. We are so much more creative, aware and able learn than any other form of life that by comparison we certainly can be cast in the role of the consciousness of the earth. On the other hand because it is a quantitative difference only I think that things like awareness, creativity, and learning are applicable to ALL living things to their own degree. In all living things there is to be found will, desires, purpose, creativity, effort, awareness, and intention as part of the biological process of biological organisms in much the same way that they are part of the mental process of the human mind.
Angela wrote:Your way of thinking here, Mitch, is creative and interesting, and for that reason it has a lot of appeal to me. I'm having fun looking at things from this perspective, similar to the fun of reading a science fiction novel. But at the end of the day, in the real world, I think your stretching of concepts such as creativity, awareness, and effort so that they can apply to any living thing, rather than only conscious living things, makes the concepts less, rather than more, useful. We have other words for what a tomato plant does that are more descriptive of the actual process of fruit production than "create." To insist on using that word waters down the meaning of it.
Angela wrote:Take the words run and walk. You could argue that there is only a quantitative difference. Running is faster. Why should we privilege runners by claiming they are doing something qualitatively different that walkers? "Maybe you thought I walked to the mail box this morning, but really, I just ran real slow.
There is a useful distinction between the words walk and run, as there is between produce and create. Tomato plants produce tomatoes. A painter creates a painting. You could substitute one word for the other in each sentence, but the result is less meaningful, not more.
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