On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 12:08 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> I don't think you *can* conceive of a third option. I think you're
>> just saying you can, like saying that you can conceive of a four-sided
>> triangle.
> I don't have to conceive of a third option, my will embodies it. That's why
> you are missing the obvious. You are filtering every possibility as a
> posteriori to intellect, but you don't see that intellect itself only makes
> sense as part of this third option. It isn't the third option, it's the
> first and only option, with randomness and determinism being two halves of
> its reflection.

I don't know what you mean by any of this. The question is whether my
actions are entirely determined by antecedents, or not.

>> This says nothing
>> about whether cognition is based on deterministic processes or not.
>> From mere introspection, I haven't any clue that I even have a brain,
>> let alone whether it is deterministic or not.
> It's only through the senses of your body that you have a belief that you
> have a brain. That you choose to take one set of experiences as indicating
> truth and another as 'mere' introspection is itself mere introspection.

By mere introspection I mean thinking in the absence of any empirical
data that comes to me through the senses. I can't tell a lot from
this, but you claim to be able to tell that science will not find that
the brain is deterministic. So if tomorrow it is announced that beyond
all reasonable doubt, human behaviour is governed by a complex
clockwork mechanism, what will you do? Declare that there must be some
mistake because the finding is a priori impossible?

>> Why is that contrary to what I said? Do you believe it is possible for
>> a deterministic or random system to have intentionality?
> Only if intention was already a possibility to begin with. If the universe
> was exclusively deterministic or random, then where would intention come
> from, and why? Beyond that, how would it ever become aware of itself, and if
> it could, how could it doubt that awareness of itself? It's about as likely
> as this conversation turning into a Big Mac.

Well obviously, if the universe is deterministic or random, intention
comes from that. I don't see the problem you have with it. Hamburgers
did not exist before the Big Bang, but now we have hamburgers. On
other planets, they may not have hamburgers. Do we have to explain
this in terms of a special essence of hamburger separate from regular
matter and energy?

>> I don't really understand your argument. If my very existence in the
>> world is an accident why couldn't my consciousness also be an
>> accident?
> If the world is made of things, then you are going to be one of those things
> whether you call it an accident or not.  Why there should be a such thing as
> consciousness though, doesn't make any sense in a world of exclusively
> accidental things. Again, it's an ontological problem - you can't have
> nonsense without sense. You can't have an accident before you have something
> which has an expectation of 'on-purpose', and you can't have an expectation
> of on-purpose in a universe where it isn't possible to conceive of
> 'on-purpose'.

Why doesn't consciousness make sense in an accidental or deterministic
world? If I accidentally end up with arms and legs why can't I also
accidentally end up with consciousness?

>> It's a legitimate question to ask why consciousness should exist at
>> all, since evolution would have done just as well with zombies.
> That's the key point.
>> The
>> most plausible explanation is that consciousness is a necessary
>> side-effect of intelligence.
> Why would it be? Why would consciousness assist intelligence any more than
> it would evolution? Even if it did, how does intelligence suddenly conjure
> phenomenology out of thin air? As I keep pointing out, time travel,
> invisibility, or the ability to turn into a rock when threatened would be
> infinitely more plausible and effective.

It appears that when you have intelligence, goals, self-reflection and
so forth you also have consciousness. This is a deduction from
observing the types of things that we believe have consciousness. It's
perhaps a bit mysterious, but you haven't said anything that makes it
any less mysterious, while you have said many things that are
irrational or ad hoc, such as your claim that you know from your
feeling of free will that your brain is not deterministic.

Stathis Papaioannou

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