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59898Re: [existlist] Re: From very small to very large

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  • eduardathome
    Jun 13, 2013
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      I did not expect to convince anyone. People are just reluctant to go there and recognize that this is the way they actually think. Whereas it is indeed the way humans think as well the other sentient beings on the planet who have some for neural network. We just don’t want to know that our thinking can is formulated in some fashion.

      The 1990s was designated as the decade of the brain. But that period has come and gone, and most people are still fixed on the 1900s or earlier when the brain was largely a mystery ... I suppose because in some fashion they are more comfortable there.

      By the way, if you look up “brain’ you will note that “electrochemical” is used. The term “bio” relates to “life” and biochemical could mean anything that is chemical and associated with living beings. Like the biosphere. Electrochemical is specific to neural activity and is the proper term just as is Electroencephalography (EEG) which measures electrical activity in the brain. Or maybe you want doctors to now speak of bioencephalography.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Mary
      Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 6:25 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: From very small to very large

      Yes, it is this very mechanistic approach of eduard's that I reject. He's an electrical engineer, so he regards the mind as some sort of circuit diagram and uses terms like electrochemical rather than biochemical, digital, pixel, and so on. There are so many factors involved in thought, that to reduce it a schematic may help him manage his angst over the fact that he doesn't understand existentialism or biochemistry. I've had enough.


      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      > Mary,
      > I agree with what you say about Holt's book. It is an enjoyable read and I learnt quite a bit about both science and philosophy which I didn't know before, but I didn't feel I got a substantial new insight into existence. With regard to the book, I would say the parts were greater than the sum.
      > I think you make a good point that there seems to be too much interest in beginnings (a long time ago) and too little interest in change (which is going on now).
      > As you say, change involves the interplay between something and nothing, and now the behaviour of humankind is affecting nature (for example with global warming), change for the better or from the worse is the result of human freedom.
      > On the topic of freedom I am currently reading a book called "A Theory of Freedom" by Philip Pettit. It is quite a difficult book – very dense – but I like Pettit's idea of freedom as non-domination. He opposes the liberal idea of freedom as non-interference, by arguing that in a society with unequal power relations (e.g. the rich having more power than the poor, or men having more power than women), then even if the more powerful act benignly and don't oppress the less powerful, the mere fact that the less powerful rely on the good will of the more powerful reveals that they do not have the freedom they ought to have.
      > A passage I have just read on what is involved in personal freedom strikes me as relevant to your dialogue with Eduard. Pettit writes:
      > "That an agent is a self means that he can think of himself, or she can think of herself, in the first person as the bearer of certain beliefs and desires and other attitudes and as the author of the actions, and perhaps other effects, to which they give rise. And that an agent is a free self means that the way attitudes are formed, and lead to action, is consistent with holding the agent responsible. There is nothing about the psychology of the agent in virtue of which they are distanced from what they want and think and do, for example, and have to look on those attitudes and actions like a more or less helpless bystander. They must be able to see their own signature in those attitudes and actions. They must be able to think: I want or think or do that; this is me, and not just the work of an alien mechanism within me."
      > Eduard seems to want to say that rather than me deciding what to do, it is my neurons deciding for me what to do. Or it is my mental scripts deciding for me what to do. But talking this way about the neurons or mental scripts sounds like the sort of "alien mechanism" which Pettit says is exactly the opposite of human freedom. To view myself as a "helpless bystander" whilst the neurons get down to the serious business of living my life is to view myself as `unfree', as lacking freedom.
      > Jim


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