On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 12:05:27PM -0700, Chris de Morsella wrote:
> John keeps insisting that X is Y or X is not Y. True, but so what? It does 
> not provide any great insight into how the brain works as a dynamic entity. 
> Basically based on reading his posts on the subject what I am stating is that 
> he would not be hired to help work out the problem based on his views of how 
> the brain can be understood. In fact he would not make it past the initial 
> screening interview -- IMO. I am not calling him stupid -- though he does 
> question my intelligence -- but for some reason (which I know not of) he 
> clings to this simplistic view of what is in fact a highly dynamic, noisy, 
> chaotic and vastly parallelized system.

I think John is flogging the dead horse idea that free will involves
both causation and not causation (my will causes something to happen,
that something cannot be caused by something, as my will is
free). Maybe he needs to save that for the theologs who seem to hold
the bizarre idea that an omnsicient being could actually exist. (How
can our will be free if an omnisicient being already knows what choice
we will make?).

It is, as always, a confusion of emergence levels. My will is an
emergent concept, that has no relevance to the microscopic realm of
atoms, molecules and forces, but as an explanation for why I chose to
drink a cup of coffee is presumably a good one. The recent discussion
initiated by Bill Taylor of FOAR reminds us of David Deutsch's
argument along those lines, such as the explanation for why an atom of
copper occupies a certain position in a statue of Nelson on Picadilly
circus, which really puts the point more forcefully than I have done.

Obviously, that the particular arrangement of molecules in my brain
this morning may have no precise causation is sufficient to guarantee
my will to be free. It is a debatable point whether it is necessary
though, and we've been through interminable debates about that on this
list an elsewhere without getting anywhere :).


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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