On Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 12:39 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> If you are right then there would be a violation of physical law in
>> the brain. You have said as much, then denied it. You have said that
>> neurons firing in the brain can't be just due to a chain of
>> biochemical events.
> They can be due to a chain of biochemical events, but they also *are*
> biochemical events, and therefore can influence them intentionally as
> well as be influenced by them. I don't understand why this is such a
> controversial ideal. Just think of the way that you actually function
> right now. Your personal motives driving what *you* do with *your*
> mind and *your* body. If the mind could be understood just as
> biochemical events among neurons, then we would have no way to think
> of our bodies as ours - the brain would not need to think of itself in
> any other terms other than the biochemical events that it literally
> is. Why make up some bogus GUI if there is no user?

The mind may not be understandable in terms of biochemical events but
the observable behaviour of the brain can be.

>>That would mean that, somewhere, a neuron fires
>> where examination of its physical state would suggest that it should
>> not fire.
> I guess you are never going to get tired of me correcting this
> factually incorrect assumption.
> The physical state of a neuron only suggests whether it is firing or
> not firing at the moment - not the circumstances under which it might
> fire. If you examine neurons in someone's amygdala, how is that going
> to tell you whether or not they are going to play poker next week or
> not? If the neurons feel like firing, does a casino appear?

Whether a neuron in the amygdala or anywhere else fires depends on its
present state, inputs from the neurons with which it interfaces and
other aspects of its environment including things such as temperature,
pH and ion concentrations. If the person thinks about gambling, that
changes the inputs to the neuron and causes it to fire. It can't fire
without any physical change. It can't fire without any physical
change. It can't fire without any physical change.

Stathis Papaioannou

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