On Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:47:49 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 5:01 AM, Craig Weinberg
> >> > So you are saying that my arm moves at random times like the lottery
> >> > pays
> >> > off randomly? How come I can predict when I am about to move my arm
> >> > be
> >> > right every time?
> >> The lottery pays off unpredictably to an outsider, but not necessarily
> >> randomly. The lottery may itself know what its own outcome is going to
> >> and feels that it has chosen it freely. This can be said about any
> >> since there is no way to know whether it is associated with
> consciousness or
> >> not.
> > You didn't answer my questions. Instead you are making up an alternate
> > universe where lotteries are not random but are intentional beings, and
> > consciousness is an unknowable factor. In the universe where we actually
> > live though, I can choose what time I want to stand up, and no
> > regression of ion channel behaviors is going to suggest what time that
> > or cannot be. I on the other hand, can predict with 100% accuracy that
> > will be.
> A random or deterministic being can also be intentional.
Why would some collection of unintentional activities be associated with an
> You assert
> that it cannot and somewhat arrogantly proclaim that this is
> self-evident. Can you find any philosopher or scientist who agrees
> with you in this?
I don't concern myself with who agrees with me. A lot of my ideas and
perspectives seem to be new. I don't make assertions out of thin air as you
accuse, I reason that if you follow determinism through from the
prospective rather than retrospective view, then any hint of intentionality
would be clearly implausible. It's a s clear as saying that in a two
dimensional universe, feelings of 'volume' would be implausible. This is
not a proclamation, it is recognition of an airtight condition from the
outset which precludes any contrary developments. If you have no
possibility of free will, then you have no possibility of dreaming of or
conceiving of any possibility other than determinism - determinism itself
would be inconceivable as white on white is indiscernible. So you can stop
claiming that I am asserting this position arrogantly or arbitrarily, I am
not asserting anything that isn't clearly required by ordinary reason.
> >> Whether or not the scientific world view is wrong, the fact remains
> that a
> >> top-down effect would result in things happening at the low level
> >> MAGICALLY.
> > Not if every low level effect was influenced by top level effects to
> > with.
> If this is so then it is undetectable to science. It is like saying
> that Gravity is due to God pushing objects together, but done in such
> a way that we can never know it other than through faith.
It doesn't matter what gravity is due to if you yourself have voluntary
control over it. Our ordinary interaction is all the evidence needed and
all the evidence that could ever be possible for a universe which seems
intentional/participatory on the inside and seems automatic/unintentional
on the outside. They are two orthogonal aspects of the same relativistic
> > Your argument is bizarre as it not only eliminates free will but it
> > really eliminates the possibility of any form of living organism since
> > would only ever be able to maintain their own homostasis and couldn't
> > gather into a larger whole.
> Why couldn't cells gather into a larger whole? What about all the
> research on cell-cell interaction?
They do, but not in the universe of your worldview. Cells could not operate
as cells because they would just be dumb collections of molecules -
different molecules being replaced all of the time. They could only do what
is required to maintain chemical equilibrium, which would not allow the
molecules in the cell to work together as a cell. To do that would require
genuinely biological intention over and above molecular physics alone.
> > It eliminates the possibility of powered flight,
> > since no low level impulse of cells or molecules results in assembling
> > airplanes.
> The molecules or cells do not have a "low level impulse". Your problem
> is that you cannot see that the whole can have properties not evident
> in its parts.
Your problem is that you cannot see that the whole can never have
properties which are not supported by its parts. If it did, it would not
really be a whole, but an assembly; a machine.
> > I repeat. If you think that my view requires non-physical magic,
> > then you don't understand what I am suggesting. That isn't an opinion,
> it is
> > a fact. I am defining all physical conditions of the universe from the
> > as the reflected consequences of experiences. Experience doesn't need to
> > squeeze into some form or function, it is form and function which are
> > nothing but public categories of experience.
> You can hold this view but it is still the case that if no apparently
> magical effects are observable in experiment that means there is no
> top-down effect from consciousness.
Since this conversation would not be possible without top-down effects from
consciousness, the burden is for you to integrate that reality into your
toy model. The facts are that top-down effects are quite ordinary for
conscious organisms, and that there is no observable difference between the
biochemical effects which initiate voluntary actions and those which
initiate involuntary actions. If you claim bottom-up effects only, then you
have to explain the illusion of top down effects which are fictional
epiphenomena, and you can't do that (nobody can).
> >> >> If it is all consistent with physics then it
> >> >> isn't a top-down effect.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > It is the job of physics to be consistent with reality, not the other
> >> > way
> >> > around.
> >> In the above sentence I am not claiming that physics is right, I am not
> >> claiming there is no top-down effect, I am just pointing out that IF IT
> >> ALL CONSISTENT WITH PHYSICS THEN IT ISN'T A TOP-DOWN EFFECT. If you
> >> with this then explain how you think the brain could consistently
> follow the
> >> mechanistic rules of physics while at the same time breaking these
> >> mechanistic rules due to the top-down action of free will, because that
> >> what you are saying, over and over and over.
> > The same way that the keyboard allows me to send my thoughts to you,
> > allows me to publicly extend my private intentions. Does the keyboard
> > the laws of physics? No. Does the video screen, computer, or internet
> > the laws of physics? No. Do I break the laws of physics? No, my public
> > private presence are seamless and fluidly interactive ends of the same
> > physical-experiential process. The keyboard and screen, like the
> > muscles of our body, exist for no other reason than to provide us with
> > direct, voluntary access to our public environment - to control it, not
> > for survival, but for aesthetic preference.
> You are missing or deliberately avoiding the point. The keyboard would
> be breaking the laws of physics if the keys started moving by
> themselves. Similarly with the screen, computer and Internet: there is
> always a chain of causation behind their activity, and if this chain
> were broken it would appear as if the laws of physics were violated.
> And similarly for the brain and any biological system: there is a
> chain causality and if this is broken it would look like magic.
No, you are missing the point. The chain of causation *begins with my
intention*. All that comes before are sub-personal influences. My
familiarity with writing English, my implicit memory of ideas and
arguments, my feelings and motivations in continuing to debate, these all
are resources for me to draw upon and express my personal cause. The cause
is formed at the personal level by my intention, just as biological events
are formed at the cellular level. Biology cannot be understood without
recognizing the irreducible primacy of the cell, and neither can free will
be understood without recognizing the irreducibility of personal
initiative. Causality is not a single chain, it is a continuum from
sequence, to parallel, to simultaneity on multiple levels. Any single chain
of causality is meaningless and infinite.
> >> See, non sequitur. I point out that if you are right chemistry is
> >> you respond with this.
> > It appears that your new strategy is going to be to ignore all arguments
> > assert that you are right and I make no sense. Chemistry does not have
> to be
> > wrong in order for a living organism to spontaneously move or change.
> > living organism is defined by their ability to interact with their
> > environment, over and above any inevitable molecular agenda. We don't
> > sit there while the chemistry of starvation plays out in our body, we
> > ways to feed ourselves. Our chemical reactions don't know anything about
> > a person gets food from a human environment, so it is up to us whether
> it is
> > worth the discomfort of finding food or avoiding hunger. The chemicals
> > care either way.
> But if chemistry says that we only ever do anything, voluntary or
> involuntary, due to chemical reactions
That is not what chemistry says. Chemistry does not address our human
existence at all. Chemistry is about molecules. Humans do not exist on that
> and you don't agree then you
> think chemistry is wrong.
Chemistry is not wrong, but it isn't complete either. Understanding the
mathematical principles behind music does not mean that music can be
produced from mathematics alone.
> Somewhere inside an organism, or perhaps in
> a test tube with biologically derived molecules, a chemist should see
> something amazing happen, such as ion gates opening for no reason or
> electric fields appearing out of nowhere.
Whatever is seen when an organism wakes up or when a person moves a part of
their body is all that there is to see as far as we know. Every part of
that is a function of awareness on many levels. The top-most awareness
which is responsible for synchronizing the activity of all of its
sub-personal components is our waking awareness. It actually may not be
top-most at all, but our personal awareness may be more of a
> >> >> This is not to say that consciousness does not exist or is
> >> >> not important, just that it is not directly or separately or
> >> >> causally efficacious.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > Then in what sense do you claim consciousness "exists"? As a
> >> > metaphysical
> >> > ephiphenomenon which appears magically in never-never land for no
> >> > conceivable purpose?
> >> Most interesting and important things in the world are epiphenomenal.
> >> There is no shame in this.
> > But how can you explain the existence of epiphenomena? They violate
> No they don't. An epiphenomenon is an emergent effect. The natural
> world is full of complexity and emergent phenomena.
Emergence is a way of understanding that one observed phenomena relates
necessarily to another. If we roll a tire, the tire track will be in the
shape of a line. If we push a tire over, the tire print in dirt will be a
disk. That is all that emergence allows. The mechanical character of the
phenomenon can express itself in different ways but still reflect the same
If pushing the tire uphill turned the track into a polymorphous,
semi-hypothetical felt 'experience' of an inner universe, in which the tire
tracks understood clearly that they were participating directly, that would
not be emergence. That would be absurd. It doesn't matter how many tires
you have, or how sophisticated the configuration they happen to be placed,
the emergence of feeling and experience from unconscious determinism is
just as absurd. If it wasn't absurd, then we should have computer programs
which need no video screens to make images, no speakers to make sounds, etc.
> Stathis Papaioannou
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