How much of my body could I live without? © iStock

How much of my body could I live without?

With advancements in modern technology you could now get rid of quite a few body parts, but just how much of your body could you replace and still be 'you'?

Asked by: Kate Dennis, Manchester


That depends what you mean by ‘I’. If you mean your mind, your unique memories and your conscious self then, in principle at least, all the necessary information could be downloaded into the right kind of machine and you wouldn’t need any of your body at all.

If you mean realistically with 2010 technology then you could live without all your limbs, part of your trunk and digestive system (life is possible with much reduced stomach and intestines), heart and lungs (replaced by machines), kidneys (dialysis), appendix, teeth, hair, and quite a few other bits. But since our personalities depend so much on how we behave and what we can do, this would be a very different ‘you’ and a very different idea of what it means to ‘live’.


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