I want to immediately dismiss any idea of soul or spiritual component of human being and I accept that death is nothingness (end) when it comes to my question. No rebirth, reincarnation etc.

But could it be possible that "I" could be someone else? After I pass away I am dead forever but other people will be born and "other" people will have consciousness. Could "I" be other? Not in the sense that I am "that" person remembering of this life or maintaining any of the characteristics but rather to be that different person. To live different life from other consciousness. To be different consciousness. Not from my perspective, from perspective of that someone else.

I find this hard to imagine as hard as imagining what nothingness really is. I am sorry if I've brought any confusion, the use I in my question doesn't want to imply of any characteristics of current me, I use it only because I can't find more appropriate term as my knowledge or words have betrayed me.

That maybe comes fundamentally to the questions of why is me me and could me be someone else.

Thanks for your time and effort.

EDIT: I am not claiming that there might be one single consciousness or connection between consciousness. What I am wondering is when my current consciousness stops to exit is it possible that some X person born in the future will bear consciousness which could possible be "I". To life another life being another human being with it's distinctive consciousness.

  • Do you mean an idea of another self? This is something I believe. I believe it is possible for multiple selves coexist like simultaneously like in the case of Rama and Parashurama. But what makes a third person you is a feeling that [s]he is/was you.
    – rus9384
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 22:56
  • 2
  • I made an argument for the possibility of this the other day in response to a similar question about death. Nobody seems to reply to me when I make the argument, so I'm not sure what people think of it. It sounds kooky I guess. philosophy.stackexchange.com/a/55692/28707 It is not a new idea, although it might be considered a kind of naturalistic reincarnation. It is certainly possible that you could become someone else in your current body if we tinkered with your brain. We could change or remove your memories and change your personality and you would still be conscious. It happens. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 5:57
  • And it happens throughout the lifespan as you develop. You are not the same person you were when you were five years old are you? Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 5:59
  • Perhaps if people were more aware of this possibility, they might be more concerned about the suffering we are causing to lab animals and the animals going though horrific conditions in factory farms, or people starving to death around the world. These could be lives that we all have to go through at some point. It doesnt seem impossible to me. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


Caspar John Hare discusses this idea in his book On Myself, and Other, Less Important, Subjects, in which he lays out his theory of egocentric presentism. For example, consider the following quote (page 83):

Is it necessary that only one person ever have present experiences? Again, the natural thing to say is no. Egocentric presentism gives me conceptual resources to imagine being one sentient creature and then, later, being another sentient creature. So (recall Nagel's "fantasy of reincarnation without memory") I can imagine that, after a lifetime of oblivious egg consumption, I die a happy philosopher, then find myself in a cage eighteen inches tall by twelve inches wide, my beak clipped to its base. This need not involve imagining that CJH dies a happy philosopher and then becomes a battery chicken. It may only involve imagining that after CJH's death there are again present experiences, and they are the experiences of a battery chicken.

Giovanni Merlo discusses similar ideas in this paper. See also several other references discussed under this question: Why am I this particular human being?

  • Thank you very much for this answer. This is great start to deepen my understanding of this idea and to test it's possibility!
    – thealophen
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 17:43

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