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Most of us would think that 'intention' or 'want' is an integral part of 'self'. However, during open brain surgeries, scientists have used electric stimulation on certain parts of the patients' brain to generate subjective intentions/feelings like 'I want to move xxx' according to the patients' report.

Reference: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5928/811?casa_token=ew7gGEKu4NkAAAAA:67s_7Wt7WHVjPBwA-yeXrn77mDbFCfUHi9TaA8vGGy0Sou-fZa7rr2TuFZGUPWs_MYrMvv0h0pOSAw

From this experiment(and Jose Delgado's), such simple 'intention' or 'want' might be directly generated by precise electric shocks. It's likely that with more subtle and elaborate electric stimulation, your subjective feeling of goals/ambitions can be generated this way, too. If that's the case, would you still regard the ambitions as part of the 'self'? How would you reconcile your ambitions with the possibility that all the feelings/will might be just something inserted in you by someone using electric shocks?

closed as too broad by christo183, Geoffrey Thomas Nov 29 '18 at 12:22

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  • These are called Libet type experiments, and their results are inconclusive. For example, Libet himself remarked that the findings are consistent with a "conscious veto", the correlation of "intention" to the specific potentials measured is questionable, and the forged "intentions" in simple tasks can be an artifact of their simplicity, brain outsources them to automated subsystems. It is certainly not "likely" that this generalizes to more complex decision making, see recent survey by Roskies. – Conifold Nov 28 '18 at 19:41
  • I somehow fail to see the relevance of your question because 1) Sensory imput f.e. adds, speech ect. are understood to have an influence on your intentions. 2) The brain is commonly understood to be bundle of nerve cells operating with electric impulses which implies the results observed. 3) The experiment doesn't show that a creation of intentions take place (one could imagine the electric impulses to alter/ampfly certain intentions) 4) The intention is still percieved as sth "I" want to do (being your own). Maybe it would be better if you provide a specific argument and ask if it's sound. – CaZaNOx Nov 28 '18 at 20:02
  • The question only makes sense if you are some sort of dualist etc. Currently the questions of exactly what consciousness and free will are.. are still just in the realms of philosophy... But only just... Evidence is such that it is now almost certain that consciousness is simply a product of the electrochemical operations of the brain. Like any electrochemical system it can be tampered with. But rest assured that under normal conditions your brain is under control of your consciousness.. not a surgeons. – Richard Nov 29 '18 at 0:31