On Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 3:19 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> EITHER something is determined/caused OR it's random/uncaused. This is
>> standard use of language. You can define your own terms but then at
>> least you should explain them in relation to the standard language:
>> "what everyone else calls green, I call red, and what everyone else
>> calls a dog, I call a cat".
> It is a standard use of language to say that people are responsible in
> varying degrees for their actions. I don't understand why you claim
> that your binary determinism is 'standard language' in some way. When
> we talk about someone being guilty of a crime, that quality of guilt
> makes no sense in terms of being passively caused or randomly
> uncaused. It is you who should explain your ideas in relation to the
> standard language: "what everyone else calls intention, I call
> irrelevant."

It's standard use of language that if something is not determined it
is random. Determined means it's not random and random means it's not
determined. When someone is found guilty of a crime that has nothing
to do with whether their behaviour is determined or random. The
consideration the legal system uses is, essentially, whether punishing
the crime would make a difference. It will deter a criminal if he
knows he will be punished since the fear of punishment will enter the
deterministic or probabilistic equation, swaying the decision in
favour of not offending. On the other hand, it is pointless to punish
a sleepwalker: sleepwalkers do make decisions, but they are probably
not the kinds of decisions that are influenced by fear of

>> But it's an empirical observation that if certain biochemical
>> reactions occur (the ones involved in processing information) ,
>> consciousness results. That you find it mysterious is your problem,
>> not nature's.
> If I turn on a TV set, TV programs occur. That doesn't mean that TV
> programs are generated by electronics. Fortunately I just spent a week
> at the consciousness conference in AZ so I now know how deeply in the
> minority views such as yours are. The vast majority of doctors and
> professors researching in this field agree that the Explanatory Gap
> cannot simply be wished away in the manner you suggest. I don't find
> it mysterious at all that consciousness could come from configurations
> of objects, I find it impossible, as do most people.

I'm not saying that consciousness is not mysterious and certainly not
non-existent (I think people who say that do it just do it to be
provocative). But it is a problem when a mysterious thing is explained
in terms of another mysterious thing; for how do we explain the second
thing, or the connection between them?

Stathis Papaioannou

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