On Oct 3, 8:29 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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_thoughtcontroll...
>
> 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:

So what? It *is* obvious to the internal observer. How can you justify
disqualifying the subject arbitrarily? It is unscientific to cherry
pick the data you prefer and ignore the important data just to make
the observation fit your foregone conclusions. You are just saying
that if we rule out subjectivity, then we must interpret subjectivity
as something else. It's a logical fallacy plus it has no explanatory
power. I'm giving you genuinely fresh insights into the nature of
subjectivity and you're giving me back tired arguments of ultra
instrumentalist pedagogy.

>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.

How do you not see that this is circular thinking? Neurological events
are caused by neurological events, really?

>This means the externally observable behaviour of the brain is
> computable, even though the external observer may not know that the
> brain is conscious.

If the outside observer is unable to factor in the relevant subjective
phenomenology then how would they be able to compute the consequences
of it?

> 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,

No, the fact of using mental inention to control a computer though the
scalp shows that subjective states can and do control physical
behaviors. I understand that you want to play with it legalistically
to prove your foregone conclusion, but the fact remains that it is the
subject's conscious will which contols the neurons which control the
computer.

>but the mental
> cannot as a separate entity move the physical. If it could, we would
> observe neurons breaking physical laws.
>
No physical laws are broken.

Craig

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