On Aug 30, 10:51 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 30/08/2011, at 4:07 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Right. That's why I keep saying there's nothing that defies science
> > here. I'm not talking about magic. Human consciousness is a fugue of
> > high level processes and low level processes interacting with each
> > other in their own native terms.
> But you are saying that the cell will do something impossible, since
> you're saying the high level processes may direct it to do something
> that cannot be predicted from the physical configuration.

It's not impossible at all. It's ordinary. You can't predict when I'm
going to move my arm based upon a physical condition of the arm, or
the cells in the arm. When I move it there is no physical law which
determines whether I will move it left or right, fast or slow. Cells
can be influenced by physical conditions or they themselves can
influence physical conditions - just like we do. Quorum sensing
provides a hint on how this works in the microcosm. Group decisions
are made.

> Otherwise
> there would be no problem in principle making an artificial cell that
> takes the place of the biological cell and leaves the overall
> behaviour of the animal unchanged.

Behavior is only half of the picture. An audioanimatronic puppet or an
interactive video can approximate human behavior to an impressive
extent, but they can't approximate human experience to any extent

> >> Everything the
> >> software causes can also be explained in terms of phydical
> >> interactions at lower levels.
> > Definitely, but the reasons that we have for causing those changes in
> > the semiconductor material are not semiconductor logics. They use
> > hardware logic to to get the hardware to do software logic, just as
> > the mind uses the brain's hardware to remember, imagine, plan, or
> > execute what the mind wants it to. What the mind wants is influenced
> > by the brain, but the brain is also influenced directly by the mind.
> What you call the mind influencing the brain is consistent with the
> mechanistic interaction of particles.

What do you mean by consistent? Is it consistent with the mechanistic
interaction of serotonin that it would want to conduct a symphony or
invent a new word for 'cool'? If you deem all phenomena in the
universe to be a priori mechanistic, then that word has no meaning. If
you want it to mean something then you have to allow that some
phenomena are not mechanistic. In that case, if you had to say that
something in the cosmos was not mechanical, what might that something
be if not human feeling, imagination, creativity and free will?

> There is a certain physical
> chain of events and you say, "yep, that was my mind influencing my
> brain to have a cup of coffee". Just as in a computer there is a
> certain chain of events and you say "yep, that was the computer
> calculating the digits of pi".

It's not only a chain of events. It's also simultaneously orchestrated
across many different regions of the brain. The thing is alive. It is
not a mechanism that does the same thing over and over. It can behave
that way also, but it's not very good at that - which is why we need
machines and computers to do the repetitive tasks with high precision
that are somewhat alien to our capabilities.

I understand why the simple existence of free will seems threatening,
but it's really nothing to be afraid of. It's just the complement of
determinism arising from the 1-p topology of temporal privacy rather
than the 3-p public spatial topology. You cannot deny that we care
whether we live or die, and that implies that we differentiate between
the two. Substance monism can't explain that fact without tortured
logic which nullifies ordinary subjectivity.


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to