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Greg Egan$
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Karen Burnham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038419

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038419.001.0001

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Identity and Consciousness

Identity and Consciousness

(p.76) Chapter 3 Identity and Consciousness
Greg Egan

Karen Burnham

University of Illinois Press

Throughout Greg Egan's career, some of his strongest stories have focused on the theme of identity. This chapter first looks at stories that highlight how malleable our brains are in terms of our neurochemistry. Next, it highlights stories where our consciousness is digitized, eventually becoming immortal. It uses information theory as a lens to examine some of the future consciousnesses proposed in Egan's stories and to consider what it means to divorce consciousness from physical embodiment so strictly. When Egan's fiction takes up the question of identity it generally looks under the skin at the neural system of the brain. There are many questions about neurons and consciousness that science is only now beginning to answer—and the answers provided so far diverge wildly from our day-to-day perceptions of being.

Keywords:   identity, neurochemistry, consciousness, information theory, Greg Egan, science fiction writers

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