On Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> But you can't stay awake unless your hardware allows it.
> So what? I can't shoot a gun unless the trigger works. Does that mean I'm
> not shooting the gun by pulling the trigger?

You are external to the gun, but you are not external to your brain unless
substance dualism is true.

> You can't decide to do anything unless your brain goes into the particular
>> configuration consistent with that decision, and the movement into that
>> configuration is determined by physical factors.
> The movement of the molecules of your brain *is* your decision. That's
> what I am telling you but you won't see it. You are only able to see it as
> a one way street which makes no sense. What you are saying is like 'water
> is ice but ice is not water'. If I feel something when something happens in
> my brain, then that means that whatever happens in my brain is also an
> event in the universe when something is felt. That means molecules feel and
> see. You could say that groups of molecules feel and see, and that's ok
> too, but you think it's the 'groupiness' that sees and not the physical
> reality of the molecules themselves. I am saying that there is no
> independent groupiness... it is a fantasy. Incorrect.

That the movement of the molecules of your brain *is* the decision is
eliminative materialism, or perhaps epiphenomenalism. In any case, the
behaviour of the molecules is entirely consistent with chemistry. An ion
channel opens because it changes conformation due to neurotransmitters
binding to it or the transmembrane voltage. Any subjectivity it may have
does not enter into the equation.

> What this means is that molecules as we see them are not the whole story,
> just as the brain and its actions are not the whole story. We are the other
> half of the story and we are not made of neurotransmitters or cells any
> more than a song we make up is our body. Two different ontological schemas.
> Two opposite schemas twisted orthogonally by the private time to public
> space juxtaposition.

That may be, but the molecules *entirely* determine the behaviour of the
brain. If you know chemistry and you know what molecule is where, you know
what chemical reactions will occur, and if you know that you know how the
person is going to move. You don't know about the person's subjectivity,
but you do know about his behaviour.

> My phone has a one year guarantee, so that it if it fails and can't be
>> repaired Apple will replace it with an identical phone. Are they opening
>> themselves up to legal challenge if this is ontologically impossible?
> I would imagine that their legal department has defined 'identical' in a
> commercially feasible way. They can probably send you a phone with similar
> but not identical parts even. If you look at the serial numbers in your
> replacement phone, you will readily see that identical is not to be taken
> absolutely literally. 'Similar enough for you' is what they mean.

That is the sort of identity I am interested in if the phone is to be
replaced: if it is different in some way I can't detect in normal use I
don't care. Similarly if I were to have parts of my body replaced: if I
can't tell any difference after a few days, that's good enough for me.

Stathis Papaioannou

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