On Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Oct 2, 7:00 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>> If they are part of the same thing, then it is presumptuous to say one 
>> causes the other.
>> One might at well say the neurons firing caused the thought of gambling - 
>> and in fact that
>> is what Stathis is saying and for the very good reason that a little 
>> electrical
>> stimulation, that has no "thought" or "sensorimotive" correlate, can cause 
>> both neurons
>> firing AND their correlated thoughts.  But thoughts cannot cause the 
>> electrical stimulator
>> to fire.  So it is *not* bidirectional.
> What do you mean? Thoughts *do* cause an electrical detector to fire.
> That's what an MRI shows. You could use any kind of electrical probe
> or sensor instead as long as it is sufficiently sensitive to detect
> the ordinary firing of a neuron. That's how it's possible to have
> thought-driven computers.
> http://www.pcworld.com/article/129889/scientists_show_thoughtcontrolled_computer_at_cebit.html

The device cited picks up electrical impulses from the scalp. The
electrical activity comes from the neurons firing in the brain. These
neurons may have associated thoughts when they fire but this is not
obvious to an external observer: all that is obvious is that a
particular neuron fires because of various measurable factors such as
its resting membrane potential and the neurotransmitter released by
other neurons with which it interfaces. So to an external observer,
every neural event has an observable cause, generally other neural
events. This means the externally observable behaviour of the brain is
computable, even though the external observer may not know that the
brain is conscious. On the other hand, if the external observer does
not know about neurotransmitters and receptors he will not be able to
explain why the neurons fire - it will look to him as if they fire for
no reason. The mental is supervenient on the physical, but the mental
cannot as a separate entity move the physical. If it could, we would
observe neurons breaking physical laws.

Stathis Papaioannou

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