On Friday, December 14, 2012 12:34:48 AM UTC-5, stathisp wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM, Craig Weinberg
> > wrote:
>> On Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:32:12 PM UTC-5, stathisp wrote:
>>> On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:14 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>>>> If free will were, after all, an illusion, then there would really be
>>>> not much of an advantage in discerning intention to cause harm from a
>>>> simple propensity to cause harm.
>>> Free will is an illusion only if you define it in a logically impossible
>>> way, neither determined nor random.
>> Let's look at your suggestion. IF YOU (choose to) define it
>> What does that mean? How does it work? It sounds like it isn't random
>> right? So it must be determined? So are you saying "Free will is an
>> illusion only if it is defined by forces utterly outside your control in a
>> logically impossible way..."
>> Well that doesn't make sense either, does it? Who is this YOU that you
>> are talking to? Why do you think that the author of these words would have
>> any more insight into how this 'YOU' might define something than the author
>> of your words?
>> The dichotomy of random vs determined is not the only possible logic, and
>> it is not a useful logic for understanding participation and will.
> You're perhaps conflating the feeling with the physical processes
> underpinning that feeling. I feel all sorts of things, but I don't feel
> neurotransmitters and action potentials. No conclusion can be drawn from
> what I feel about the physical processes. Consider that the ancient Greeks
> did not even realise that the brain is the organ of thinking. So when I say
> "I feel my actions are free" that means something, but it does NOT mean
> that my brain processes are neither random nor determined.
You're assuming that the physical process is "underpinning" a feeling. I am
saying that although it is counterintuitive, it will ultimately make more
sense if you think of the physical process as the rendering or
representation of that feeling in public space. The feeling is the actual
presentation - it has meaning, purpose, content, life... the physical
process associated with it is just a flatland slice which is publicly
accessible at any given moment in time. The private feeling contains
experiential richness from your entire life, it is inseparable from the
totality of it, but the mechanical correlate is an entirely orthogonal
presentation. It has no history, only archeology. It has no meaning or
purpose, only conditions and positions. There is no life there, only layers
and layers and layers of biochemical activity. These are the shapes
associated not just with one person, but also with the entire history of
evolutionary biology. By contrast the interior correlate references the
entire history of anthropology, of culture, art, religion, philosophy,
language, etc. The two views are related, but not directly - not
mechanistically like everyone assumes, but in a mutual form-content single
involuted surface type relation, only relying on metaphor to bridge the
explanatory gap, not technological production.
I have considered everything that you are saying, and have done so for a
long time. You don't realize that you are talking consciousness for granted
when you visualize the brain, neurons, etc. You disqualify naive realism
with a double standard, hypocritically selecting the thoughts we have about
neurotransmitters and action potentials as separate from other kinds of
thoughts and feelings that we have. You claim not to trust awareness, but
then have absolute faith in your awareness of science. You have
justifications based on consensus of experiment and observation - but this
is a consensus of the same capacities which you call into question.
Neuroscience, by your view, would have to be merely action potentials and
neurotransmitter activity, nothing more. You have used the authority of
your own psyche to question that authority absolutely. That's a
contradiction and it is why we can never escape the primacy of
>>> Since everything is either determined or random,
>> It isn't. My choices are not determined, nor are they random. They are
>> varying degrees of intentional and unintentional with deterministic and
>> possibly random influences which are necessary but not sufficient to
>> explain my causally efficacious solitude and agency.
> I don't see how you can come to that conclusion. There is nothing in what
> I feel that would provide me with any certainty that my brain is not being
> manipulated by someone by remote control, for example. That possibility is
> entirely consistent with my subjective feeling of freedom.
Of course that's possible. In fact it is a common psychotic delusion.
Indeed, we are complex and have many competing aspects of our self with
different agendas. The reason why it doesn't make sense however, is why
would any process exist which creates an epiphenomenal person such as you.
By extension, that is the problem with mechanism and functionalism as well.
If you have a perfectly good computer which operates a robot navigating a
physical world whose purpose is to survive and reproduce, what would be the
advantage of generating an internal representation delusion to some made up
'person' program when the computer is already controlling the robot
perfectly well. It would be like installing an chip inside of your computer
to simulate an impressionist painter who actually paints tiny paintings for
a made up audience of puppets to think that they are looking at. Even then,
you still have the Explanatory Gap/homunculus problem. You still ARE NO
CLOSER to closing the gap as now you have an interior 'model' which has no
mechanism for perception. You have just moved the Cartesian Theater inside
of biochemistry, but it still explains nothing about how you get from
endogenous light to endogenous eyes which see images through biophotons
rather than are simply informed of their quantitative significance directly
>>> if something appears to be neither then that must be an illusion.
>> Illusions are a figment of expectation. What you call an optical
>> illusion, I call a living encyclopedia of visual perception and optics.
>> Something can only be an illusion if you mistakenly interpret it as
>> something else.
>>> In any case, it is important to know if someone has intention to cause
>>> harm because that may be indication he is more dangerous to you than
>>> someone who causes harm accidentally. Whether the intention is driven by
>>> deterministic or probabilistic processes in the brain is not really
>> If intentional threats were deterministic or random then it would be
>> indistinguishable from any number of naturally occurring threats. The
>> prioritizing of intention specifically points to the importance of
>> discerning the difference between threats caused by agents with voluntary
>> control over their actions and random or deterministic unconscious physical
> That it is voluntary control has no bearing on the question of whether the
> underlying processes are determined or random.
There is no underlying process. The public exterior view is biased to
present all things as unintentional (determined or random), the private
interior view is biased to present all things as intentional or
unintentional. I am talking about a fundamental ontological fold in the
cosmos itself which supersedes both math, physics, information,
understanding, experience, etc. This is the bottom layer of all possibility
in all possible universes. This is what sense is made of. The prime
juxatposition. You are making Descartes mistake and presuming a
substance-space model as primary. His dualism was not deep enough - it has
to be total. Then it can be rehabilitated into a continuum-spectrum of
juxtapositions in between spatial exterior bodies and temporal interior
privacy. Dualism is deeper than 1+1=2. More primordial than anything else.
That's why it is not going to help to look at a picture of a brain or a
meter reading - those things are all part of the experience - your
experience and many other experiences on every layer and scale. You can't
find the shoebox inside of the shoe.
> Stathis Papaioannou
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To view this discussion on the web visit
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at