Ok, I can work with this. First let me say that, given your assumptions, your reasoning is absolutely correct. The assumptions themselves, although I don't think they are even conscious, are also completely reasonable. That is a perfectly reasonable expectation about nature, and it is one that I myself shared until fairly recently. Starting with the first assumption: >"The decision to go to the store, A, is associated with certain brain processes" To that I say, lets slow down a moment. What do we know about about the association? As far as I know, what we know is that 1) measurable changes in brain activity occur in synchronization to self-reported or experimentally inferred changes in subjective states. 2) the regions of the brain affected have been mapped with a high degree of consistency and specificity (although the anomalies, such as with people who live seemingly normal lives with large parts of their brain 'missing' makes that kind of morphological approach potentially naive) 3) that externally induced brain changes will induce changes in subjective experience (so that brain changes cannot be epiphenomenal). What we do *not* know is that 4) the entirety of our experiences are literally contained within the tissues of the brain, or its activities. 5) that the brain activity which we can observe with our contemporary instruments is the only causal agent of subjective experience. 6) that subjective experiences cannot cause observable brain changes (to the contrary, we count on subjects being able to voluntarily and spontaneously change their own brain activity). 7) that neuronal activity is not also associated with microphenomenal experiences which are subconscious to us at the personal level. (The article at the top of the thread shows that the opposite is true, in the sense that we can access and control individual neuron behaviors strictly through direct subjective attention). The next assumption I think takes a turn from the relatively innocuous to the ideologically biased. To say "The brain processes associated with A *cause* the brain processes associated with B." doesn't really work. Let's say that some alien neurologist thinks that the world financial markets are the activity of a global brain. She observes that certain numbers that come out of the NASDAQ are associated with the construction of new suburban houses. Having access to a precision magnetic stimulation instruments, she is able to change the numbers in the NASDAQ computers, and sure enough, most times the expected effect materializes. She concludes therefore, as you would in her position, that the market indicators associated with the real estate development A *cause* the market indicators associated with commercial development months later (B). This view assumes that the actual participants in the economy, and the actual conditions of their experienced lives are not functionally necessary to transform A into B. In the same way, we could say that a drug like cocaine changes brain activity to match that of a person who was living a very exhilarating life, and by the logic that you are suggesting, as long as the drug supply did not run out, the person's life would eventually have to change automatically to match the enhanced brain activity. By underestimating the role of consciousness, and overlooking its obvious significance in creating and shaping its activities *through* the brain, rather than activities *of* the brain, you wind up with a worldview in which no form of consciousness could plausibly exist. For that reason, the hypothesis you assume must be abandoned with prejudice. Not only should we resist falling back on the whole set of hypotheses which fail to account for consciousness in any way, but I recommend that we start from the polar opposite assumption, in which the association of brain states A and B are not the relevant causes, but are actually the event horizon of a completely different set of causes which are impersonal but intersect the personal, sub-personal, and super-personal ranges of awareness. It is like the stop motion video that I linked, where impossible things seem to happen without any camera tricks. There will always be a plausible chain of causality to explain how A becomes B, but it is wrong. If we look at traffic patterns of a city, we can imagine that a flood of people leaving a parking lot is not leaving a concert at the same time, but just a statistical inevitability because of the nature of how traffic events are distributed around cities. It's a perfectly reasonable and scientific view, and it may be statistically successful even in predicting these parking lot evacuations accurately. It's still the wrong way to look at it. It still doesn't work if you try put a thousand cars in the middle of the desert and expect them to build a city. Can you see how modeling nature from the outside in has a big hole in it, and why that hole would be a catastrophic mistake to overlook when studying consciousness? > This is according to the scientific > account of nature. If the scientific account of nature is wrong then > the scientist would look at the physical processes B and declare that > there must be some supernatural influence, Not supernatural, just transmeasurable. How would the scientist presume to speak for nature? A terrible scientist if you ask me. "Whatever doesn't fit in my microscope is supernatural". This is the problem. We already have, with our own consciousness, a better window into neuroscience than any instrument could possibly give us. Not that the perspective of a non-human system is not valuable, of course it is, but nothing about the brain would be worth the effort were it not for our own subjective appreciation of what it does. No fMRI machine has the faintest idea what a brain is or why is has to generate images of it. From the perspective of non-humans, the brain is food, or a source of energy, or just a blob of decaying ooze. > as he cannot explain how > they come about given the antecedent A and the laws of physics. > IMO, there are can be no 'laws' of physics. There is only sense. Incidents and co-incidents of orderly 'seems like'. Craig > > -- > Stathis Papaioannou > -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. 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