On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 3:44 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> I don't know what you mean by any of this. The question is whether my
>> actions are entirely determined by antecedents, or not.
> I see the question as being how there could be a such thing as actions which
> are 'yours' in a deterministic universe,

They are mine because I carry them out. I am responsible for my
actions because I know what I am doing and I choose to do it. If I
break the law I will be punished because the fear of punishment will
deter me and others who are thinking of doing the same thing. This is
all consistent with determinism.

>> By mere introspection I mean thinking in the absence of any empirical
>> data that comes to me through the senses.
> You only think that you have data that comes to you through your senses
> because your introspective qualia defines it that way for you.

Yes, the world is a construct of my mind, whether there is an actual
world out there or not. If I ignore the information that seems to come
to me from outside, that is what I am referring to as introspection.

>> 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.
> It's not an important question. What matters is that determinism itself is a
> shadow or reflection of intention.

So are you now agreeing that we could have consciousness and free will
despite having deterministic brains?

>> So if tomorrow it is announced that beyond
>> all reasonable doubt, human behaviour is governed by a complex
>> clockwork mechanism, what will you do?
> It's not a realistic suggestion. You are saying, 'imagine tomorrow that they
> discover that circles are absolutely square'. They won't, not because I care
> whether they would or not, or that it would upset me, but because I
> understand why it can't happen. Fully half of the universe is not governed
> by mechanism.
>> Declare that there must be some
>> mistake because the finding is a priori impossible?
> I wouldn't need to declare anything, because they will be disgraced
> eventually on their own.

So you *are* saying it is a priori impossible that the brain is
deterministic. It's a pretty dramatic claim: you are telling
scientists that, by sitting

>> Well obviously, if the universe is deterministic or random, intention
>> comes from that.
> That's begging the question. If the universe is black and white, does red
> come from that? It's worthless to reach for a nonsense solution like that.

But if the universe could only possibly be deterministic or random
then intention must come from that. It's not begging the question,
it's a reasonable conclusion from two facts.

>> I don't see the problem you have with it. Hamburgers
>> did not exist before the Big Bang, but now we have hamburgers.
> But hamburgers are a perfectly reasonable expectation from the Big Bang,
> given the nature of matter.

So is consciousness, given the nature of matter. For when you put
matter, and nothing but matter, together in the form of a human, it is

>> 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?
> Who said anything about a special essence? I am saying that sense
> (intention) is the the fabric of the cosmos, and that there can certainly be
> no other. There could in theory be another universe where that isn't the
> case, but it won't have people living in it.

The standard view is that there is only matter and energy and "sense"
follows if it is combined in a certain way. You are putting it the
other way around, so it certainly sounds as if you're saying "sense"
is something over and above matter and energy.

>> Why doesn't consciousness make sense in an accidental or deterministic
>> world?
> Because you are assuming an a priority possibility which you are then
> denying. It's not meaningful to say that a birthday cake can appear out of
> nowhere on the surface of the Moon, you have to actually have some reason
> why such an explanation is better than nothing. You can't just retroactively
> assign any magical possibility to accidents or determinism if you have no
> idea how those possibilities existed in the first place. You are assuming
> that just because life exists that there must have been some probability
> that it can exist - but I don't think so at all. To me it is obvious that
> consciousness is not possible in any way, except for it being the one
> possibility which makes all others. Try to think of a plausible scenario for
> how an accident of collisions results in presence, feeling, or
> participation.

Consciousness arises from intelligent behaviour. If it did not, then
there would be no consciousness, since there is no reason for it to
evolve. Your theory presents an ad hoc complication: that
consciousness arises independently and somehow in sync with
intelligent behaviour. By Occam's Razor, your theory should be

>> If I accidentally end up with arms and legs why can't I also
>> accidentally end up with consciousness?
> Because an arm or a leg is just an extension of a body. A consciousness is a
> property unrelated to anything except itself.

This is what Descartes thought: consciousness is independent of the
body. He imagined that the two interact via the pineal gland.

>> It appears that when you have intelligence, goals, self-reflection and
>> so forth you also have consciousness.
> It appears that if you buy a lot of things that you have access to money or
> credit. That doesn't mean that buying things causes money.

Association does not necessarily imply causation, so it is possible
that consciousness is caused by God and intelligent behaviour is
caused by matter, and the two just happen to coincide. It's possible,
but it is an inferior theory as it is more complicated, does not
explain any more, and is not empirically falsifiable.

>> This is a deduction from
>> observing the types of things that we believe have consciousness.
> There are obviously different qualities of consciousness and different
> intensities and specialties of intelligence, but losing consciousness for a
> year means you are in a coma or dead, losing intelligence for a year might
> just mean that you are married. Of course these are just loose terms.
> Consciousness can also be used to specify a higher kind of intelligence -
> like ethics and self -reflection. That's a valid use of the term and one
> which could be placed a posteriori to intelligence (although it's a bit
> bigoted...dumb people can be socially or ethically conscious and intelligent
> people can be short-sighted.) To me though, consciousness generally means
> the capacity to participate in a private perception.

One other important observation is that only things with the capacity
to analyse their environment and interact with their environment in a
complex way are conscious. Dead or inert things aren't conscious, yet
dead or inert things might have just as much matter and just as much
of your proposed all-pervasive "sense"; otherwise how is "sense"

>> 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.
> If I ask you to visualize the color red right now, a computer monitoring
> your brain will find this sudden signal corresponding to imagining red how?
> If I can change my brain to some extent at will, how can it be truly
> deterministic?

Your brain changes deterministically and as a result of this process
you feel you have changed your mind, for good or bad or arbitrary
reasons. This may or may not be true but where is the *logical*
contradiction which leads you to say it is a priori false?

Stathis Papaioannou

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