definition of personality
So what is the practical definition of personality?
Is personality the built-in formula for determining what a person will do in a given situation?
Pinker shows us that personality is determined partly by genetics and partly by the random growth patterns of our brain tissue.
After reading this I considered a thought expiriment:
What if identical twins were somehow engineered to have the exact same growth patterns of their brain tissue? Probably this is impossible, but let's just assume it.
And what if somehow you could arrange for them to have the exact same experiences as they grew older? This is perhaps even more impossible, (if that makes sense,) but imagine we could do it. And I mean, exactly the same experiences...the gleam in Mommy's eyes, the exact physical perturbations (farts, itches, etc,)
the same summer breezes and spooky creaking noises at night, and all that. Perhaps it is concievable if we imagine some kind of futuristic virtual reality machine.
So if we could do this, if we could create identical people and raise them in the exact same way, would they unerringly live out identical lives? Would they each make the same decision at every possible moment? Brush their teeth the same exact way? Have the same daydreams? Marry the same (virtual) person? Breathe the very same last words on their deathbed?
It seems to me that this must be so. And this thought seems to bring me face to face with my own "machineness" in a new, more undeniable way.
I suppose there may be other forces at work that would make the destinies of the two people vary. Perhaps the random behavior of subatomic particles would butterfly up, and lead to different
toothbrushing styles, that could lead to different success at dating...
But then we could modify the thought expiriment to include control of these forces...Unless we invoke a force that is in principle uncontrollable.
Oh, I'm rambling now. Anyway, that is how I've been thinking since reading the Blank Slate.