Why Philosophers Are Obsessed With Brains in Jars

Philip Ball | The Atlantic

Not many people get to contemplate their brain in a jar, but if all goes to plan then I’ll be in that curious position by Christmas.

Happily, I’ll still have the brain I’m using right now, which is how I’ll be able to do the contemplating. The other one will be my second brain. About the size of a frozen pea, it will have been grown from a small lump of flesh that researchers at the Institute of Neurology of University College London recently dug from my arm.

My skin cells will be transformed into a state akin to stem cells, which can grow into any type of tissue, using Nobel Prize-winning methods devised in the mid-2000s. These so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPSCs, will then be gently coaxed into becoming neurons.

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