On 3/10/07, Tom Caylor <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

It seems that you are missing my point.  I will better explain my
> point about "the whole control loop".   Personal tastes and second
> order feelings about the tastes are all on the *input* side of our
> system of consciousness.  But the input is not the whole system.
> Instead of saying "are personal feelings sufficient as the total input
> into our decision making system?" I should have said "are personal
> feelings (and other interpretations of inputs) sufficient to make up
> our decision making system", actually our whole system of
> consciousness?

Apparently they are, since that is what in fact happens.

Here a diagram would be useful.  The reductionist tendency seems to be
> to lump all of consciousness into the "input interpretting" box and
> "explain it" in terms of smaller parts making up an autonomous
> machine.  Hence, now that it is all explained and we are a machine,
> there is no room for real morality and we can do whatever we want.  (I
> think I heard an Amen! from Brent.)
> That's fine for those of us who are older and have one foot still back
> in the days when our parents believed in something that was based on
> ultimate meaning and reality.  Hence we know what we want.  But what
> about the future generations? The big question for them is, "What are
> we supposed to want?"  We answer, "Whatever you want!"  See the
> circularity?  By lumping everything into the "input interpretting" box
> and explaining it, we have left the "output creating" box totally
> undefined.  The nobility of humanity is not in how to interpret things
> alone, but in creating things.  If we are trying to eliminate any
> normative thinking about this creating ability, we have left the
> creating ability to atrophy without guidance.  Freedom must be guided
> by form, on purpose, in a meaningful way.

Most people in the world behave as if there were an ultimate morality, even
though logically they might know that there isn't. I think this true even of
those with religious beliefs: murder is bad because it's bad, not because it
confirms in the Bible that it's bad. This strong sense that there is
something to moral behaviour besides evolutionary expediency is what I
called a second order feeling, and its utility is that it makes it difficult
for us to shrug off morality and "do whatever we want".

Stathis Papaioannou

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