On Sat, Apr 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Friday, April 5, 2013 6:47:00 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 11:35 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
>> Why are all of your actions "obviously" due to subconscious influences?
>>>>> If that were the case why would personal awareness exist?
>>>> Your actions are due to physical processes in your brain which move
>>>> your muscles, but you are not actually aware of these physical processes.
>>> How can you be any more aware of those processes than by being them?
>> Because I have no idea that these processes are going on, or even that I
>> have a brain. Why do you think people used to believe that they think with
>> their hearts, or with their immaterial soul?
> People thought that because they tried to explain private physics in the
> terms of public physics instead of understanding it in its own terms. You
> already are aware of the relevant aspects of your brain function, and aware
> of them in a way which is a million times more detailed than any fMRI could
> ever be. The problem is that you are making the same mistake that the
> immaterialists make only in reverse. You begin with absolute certainty in
> what instruments have shown us of the outside of matter to the extent that
> you doubt what your own native senses tell you about the inside of matter.

You use the word "subconscious" differently to the way most people do. Most
processes in your body occur subconsciously in the conventional sense of
the word. It makes it difficult to participate in a discussion when you
redefine words. At least make it explicit when you do so.

>  You seem stuck on the belief that it is not possible to be conscious if
>> the processes leading to consciousness are deterministic, random or
>> subconscious. As a matter of logical deduction, this is false. It is
>> possible for a thing to have qualities different from its parts.
> This would be a case where the intentional would have to come from its
> complete opposite -  from the unintentional (determined and random), which
> could happen theoretically, but not in a universe which had no use for
> intention. A universe where intentionality is fundamental can pretend to be
> unintentional, but unintentional can't pretend to be anything.
> Unintentional is anesthetic and has no plausible use for intention.

It sounds again like something you have just made up. What's worse, you
present it as certain or self-evident.

> Why does the universe need to hae a "use" for something? Who made this
>> rule?
> It's not a rule it's reason. If there were no fish in the water, there
> would be no such thing as gills. If there were gills on a cow, then that
> would be weird, especially if someone was saying that gills are an illusion.

The universe is not conscious and doesn't care. We could be wiped out
tomorrow by an asteroid hit and everything else would continue as before.
Perhaps life and intelligence will evolve again, perhaps they won't.

>  And what difference does it make if you say intentionality is fundamental
>> or emergent? It could be a fundamental fact that consciousness will emerge
>> when matter is organised in particular ways.
> The difference is that the argument that intention must be reduced to
> determinism or randomness doesn't make any sense but it makes perfect sense
> that intention would be fundamental and determinism and randomness would
> naturally arise as perceptual fictions. The idea that consciousness will
> emerge from an organization of inanimate, unconscious matter (which makes
> no sense to begin with since there is no real way to conceive of a universe
> devoid of all detection and presentation) is just a religious faith with no
> explanatory power at all. Why not just say that when there are a trillion
> customers at the galactic WalMart that consciousness appears on a random
> planet.

Because it is an observed fact that consciousness is associated with
certain complex arrangements of matter. If consciousness were fundamental
then why would it need this complex arrangement? Why would it persist in
much the same way despite a complete replacement of the matter? Why would
it be disrupted with relatively small structural changes in the matter?

>  In order to decide if free will exists the first thing is to understand
>>>> what is meant by the term. If it means "I choose to do what I want I do"
>>>> then free will exists. If it means something else such as "neither
>>>> determined nor random" then it doesn't exist.
>>> What do you claim is the difference between choosing to do what you want
>>> to do and acting as a physical phenomenon which is intentional rather than
>>> unintentional (determined or random)?
>> I don't accept your claim that "intentional" (either in the common sense
>> or the philosophical sense) is incompatible with the phenomenon being
>> determined or random. It seems to be something you just made up and present
>> as self-evident, which it certainly is not.
> You don't accept it but you have no reason to offer for your opinion. I
> present my view as self-evident because to me it certainly is. It's funny
> for you to talk about 'making things up' since that is certainly a thing
> which makes no sense in an unintentional universe.

I have a good reason for my opinion:

>> Fact 1 accepted by everyone: we are conscious.
>> Fact 2 accepted by everyone except you: everything that happens in the
>> universe is either determined or random.
> "Everyone" meaning like three people on this list?

No, everyone who understands the conventional meaning of the terms
"determined" and "random". Perhaps you are excluded because you have your
own private definition for these words.

> A lot of people think that the universe does not include their own life.
> They conceive of the universe from the view from nowhere, like some perfect
> diorama which exists in an observation bubble. When presented with real
> opportunities to participate in the world, nobody thinks that what they eat
> for lunch is determined by physics or random, they personally contribute to
> their own lunch experience and the universe fully supports that. It does
> not require any metaphysical powers that defy the laws of gravity, we
> simply weigh the various influences which are available to us and settle on
> what we prefer, or create a new idea. Then we move through the world
> directly to get what we want to eat for lunch. There is no physical agenda
> which shows up on an fMRI which says 'yep, this is brainstem for pastrami
> sandwich. He has no choice but to get a pastrami sandwich.

I think even those people who have the sort of belief you describe would
accept that everything that happens in the universe including activity in
their brains is either determined or random, assuming they understand the
usual meaning of those words. They would also accept that they are
conscious, since that has nothing to do with whether their brains are
determined or random. They may or may not accept that they have free will,
since unlike "determined" and "random" that term is not universally defined
the same way. So some will say that if the world is determined we lack free
will while others will say that if the world is determined we have free
will; and others will say that if the world is random we have free will
while others will say that if the world is random we lack free will. Then
there are those, like John, who will say that free will is an incoherent

> Conclusion: hence, consciousness is compatible with a deterministic or
>> random universe.
> That's your argument? "Everyone" thinks there is no free will (using their
> free will, of course) so there must not be. Wow. How could any religious
> fundamentalist have an argument that was any worse than that. Seriously,
> here's how that would go.
> I have a good reason for my opinion:
> Fact 1 accepted by everyone: it is good that we are conscious.
> Fact 2 accepted by everyone except you: everything that happens in the
> universe is either determined by God or the Devil.

Not everyone thinks there is no free will, but everyone thinks they are
conscious and almost everyone thinks that the world is either determined or
random, since that comes from the normal definition of these words. The
existence of God and the Devil does not follow from the definition of the

Stathis Papaioannou

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