I understand that evidence found in neuroscience points to the idea that consciousness, feelings, etc are all generated via biological processes within the brain.

Now, Going off the fact that by and large we humans all have the same components to our brains, frontal lob, cerebral cortex, etc. By what mechanism is individual perception determined?

In other words; why do I experience life from this body and this brain in particular when the mechanisms that are responsible for my consciousness exist within every other human?

While its true that my personality and who I am as a person is determined not only by my nature but my experiences and memories and various interactions, that doesn't exactly explain the origin of why I "see through my eyes" and not someone else's.

Sorry if I'm being vague, it's some what difficult to put into words what I'm thinking.

  • How can you see through another's eye, when what "you" are constrained inside your own body? Though there may be similarities between different individual's experiences, these experiences have to be experienced individually. How is this apple different from that one although they share the same characteristics? On the other hand, if you are asking why our conciousness seems to be constrained to a certain single body/brain that we identify as "me", don't you already presuppose a conciousness that is outside the material constrains? Because matter is specific and local.
    – nakiya
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 6:41
  • If there was an exact clone of me, down to make up and memories; would I experience things through the clone or the original ? Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 11:23

2 Answers 2


You're making a category error: you are defining "your experiences" as something disjoint from the physical processes that generate your consciousness. But, of course, if the physicalist view is correct, there is (and can be) no distinction.

You don't ask "by what mechanism does my camera record a picture of what it is pointing at, instead of what some other camera is pointing at, even though its CCD chip works by the same mechanisms". Your camera takes pictures of your stuff because it is pointing at your stuff.

Your consciousness is pointing at your stuff, too.

And we don't exactly know why there is such a strong continuity of identity, but we're quite sure that there is, and it's your own sense-of-identity being maintained in you (you, a particular physical entity), not some other sense-of-identity in some other physical entity that happens to be very similar to you.

  • I understand your analogy; but I think the problem with it is that there are quite a few important differences between the processor that works in a camera and a human brain; That's why i ask if I had a clone who's physical make up was identical to mine in every way, would I experience through the perception of the clone or the original, or would that clone have it's own perception. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 12:51
  • You seem not to have explained how you are different from a camera (in a way that is relevant to this question). "If I had a camera whose physical make up was identical to that camera over there, would I take my own pictures, or the pictures from the perspective of that other camera?"...how is this not the same question?
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 13:53
  • Because a camera can't think and make decisions as a human can. Listen I get why a camera with identical parts to Eachother work independently of one another, but I'm not convinced that what the camera records is what makes the camera unique. I'm sorry the question and how I'm framing things doesn't make sense. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 13:58
  • @XavierLong - What evidence to you have that sensations being generated in your head will somehow leap across or merge with sensations generated in some other physical object somewhere else in the universe that just happens to be very similar to you? How would that even work, physically? I grant if you're a dualist all sorts of stuff like this could be plausible, but if you're asking for the scientific perspective--well, there's scant (i.e. no compelling) evidence for dualism.
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 19:31
  • Ok let me try to rephrase. I'm not asking how can I be this individual with this particular body and perceptions. That's no different than asking why did we evolve in this human form in particular it kinda presupposes itself. But is the makeup that is me could this be the only way I could ever be. I.e. Does my life as it's been up til now a necessary component for me to be me. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 19:56

I understand that evidence found in neuroscience points to the idea that consciousness, feelings, etc are all generated via biological processes within the brain.

Also assume: Your brain can only gain input is from your senses.

I guess the question becomes "what is 'my consciousness'? what is 'you'?".

If you draw an arbitrary line is sand that says you are the collection of experiences starting from the moment your father's sperm met your mother's egg, then you can't separate your physical form (brain) from your experiences. From that point on, your brain is the place where all the effects of your experiences are stored. Since your consciousness is generated by your brain + what your experiences have done to your brain, you cannot separate your brain, your experiences, and your consciousness.

You would not be you if you changed any of those.

Your consciousness is no the same as my consciousness. It is biologically made of the similar processes in the brain; however, it is not the same brain because it didn't go through the same experiences as i did.

Similarly, you 10 years ago is not you right now. 10 years ago you is not looking through the same eyes. If you had a clone, from the moment you experience something different from the other, you and your clone would be different and have a different consciousness, perspective, ...

  • "Similarly, you 10 years ago is not you right now. 10 years ago you is not looking through the same eyes. " See the thing about that is; it's true the me now is not the me from 10 years ago; however that was still ME who had the experience 10 years ago. I get you though. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 12:47

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