In Daniel Dennett’s essay, we find many ideas that complement Perry’s assertions. Dennett’s method is similar to that of Perry in that both employ numerous thought experiments to illustrate their points. There are multifarious theoretical ways in which the brain can be separated from the body. That they may not be feasible using current technology is a moot question. One of the main questions answered by Dennett is about the location of individual self-identity across temporal and spatial scales. There are numerous methods through which the distended individual can retain his personhood and function in this abnormal state. The entities for the two brains (Yorick and its computer replica Hubert) and the two bodies (Hamlet and Fortinbras) are shown to function under different permutations and combinations.
Upon studying mind-body relationship through the workings of the four entities, Dennett arrives at the insight that in a brain-transplant operation, it is the donor who retains his identity and not the recipient. In this respect, it is more apt to call it a body-transplant operation. Hence assigning personhood to Hamlet is most dubious. Assigning that status to Yorick is less problematic, but still not fully convincing. Resorting to the generalized claim that ‘Dennett is wherever he thinks he is’ brings its own share of puzzles to the equation. Apart from straightforward questions of legality and rights associated with an individual, numerous moral dilemmas are thrown up by these complexities. For example, can the re-doubled identity of Dennett carry on living two separate lives simultaneously? What if Dennett decides to terminate one copy and live through the other? Does he have the right? Does not it amount to murder? Since these questions are hypothetical and have not yet been encountered in real-life yet, they do not undermine Dennett’s arguments in any significant way.
Finally, Dennett seems to suggest that the soul is essentially a concept of the mind/brain, which is congruent with Perry’s views as well. For example, Perry, in the guise of Weirob, deduces how the body is the central item of self-identification. This is certainly true vis-à-vis how others perceive and recognize an individual when he/she is alive. Even in the case of a paraplegic, she understands and assimilates the fact that the body is paralyzed and reconstructs the identity accordingly. For the paraplegic, identity is wholly a matter of the brain. The body is involved to the extent that the brain is physiologically still a part of her body.
John Perry, A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, Part 3, Mind and Its Place in Nature, p.395+
Daniel C. Dennett. Where Am I? Lehigh University Resources, retrieved from <http://www.lehigh.edu/~mhb0/Dennett-WhereAmI.pdf> on 6th June 2014