Thursday, February 16, 2012

383: The Utopia of the Free Market NEW PROJECT

Today we start a new project with the title "The Utopia of the Free Market". Of course the current financial crisis makes the subject even more interesting.

However, something keeps itself hidden in a clever way by emphasizing especially the FINANCIAL aspect: we are not facing just a financial crisis, but a moral crisis.

"I am not a destroyer of companies, I am a liberator of companies. What it is all about, ladies and gentlemen, is that greed, for lack a better word, is good. Greed is legal. Greed works.

Greed clarifies, flows through and shapes the quintessence of evolution. Greed in all its forms, greed of life, money, love, knowledge, speeds up the progress of humanity."

These are the words of the notorious banker, Gordon Gekko in the movie Wallstreet (1987). How prophetic that movie was !!!

That we are dealing primarily with a moral crisis is clearly demonstrated by Greece. At the basis of its financial crisis is the general moral sense of responsibility with respect to their society.

They might kill me for this statement, but tax evasion and corruption in certain areas is in Greece such a common thing, it seems.

But there is more. One philosopher has been of great influence and stood at the cradle of the moral attitude, which has become such a common good among people, certainly people in finances: Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982) was a Russian - American philosopher, who developed a very personal philosophy: Objectivism.

But mostly she was a successful novelist, who wrote the thickest utopia ever, I think: "Atlas Shrugged" (1957), about a 600 pages. I have read it in preparation of this project.

This book is the capitalist utopia in a nutshell. In Europe the book is hardly known. Just recently I saw a Dutch translation in the bookstore. Maybe because there is a movie now too.

However, according to a survey of American readers, published in Time magazine, "Atlas Shrugged" is the second most important book of the 20th century. Only the Bible was more important.

The indirect and worldwide influence of Ayn Rand is impressive. One important reason is, that her most dedicated philosophical disciple was Allan Greenspan (1926).

Till 2006 he was the president of the Fed, the American Federal Reserve Bank, of which the monetary politics in this globalizing world are felt everywhere.

In this project I will begin with investigating and analyzing the meaning of Rand's philosophy with respect to the capitalist utopia.

We'll have a look in the historical background of the free market ideology and we'll meet a number of philosopher, who can elaborate on that.

To give you names: Aristotle, Thomas More, John Locke and of course Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham. Not to forger Marx, Durkheim and Keynes.

I'll end the project with an analysis of the question in what way and to what extend we actually made the free market utopia work.

Many people think, that the free market is an objective process that nobody has imagined or invented. Nobody seems to be responsible for the ideology and utopia behind it.

And that is what we are going to find out: who is responsible?

But you'll have to wait for a little while. From 16 to 26 February I'll enjoy a nice vacation in RL. So, next class will be February 28.

The Discussion

[13:19] Farv Hallison: Greenspan changed his mind about Any Rand...Her philosophy cause the financial collapse.
[13:19] herman Bergson: yes yes..Farv, a desillusion....

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you.... ㋡
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Herman!
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:21] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): That was short
[13:21] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remakrs...plzz go ahead
[13:21] Mick Nerido: Free Market= supply and demand Theory?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Funny you say that merlin....
[13:22] druth Vlodovic: you have my condolences on having read atlas shrugged
[13:22] Jaelle Faerye: Thank you Herman
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes?
[13:22] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thank you Herman
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes because the lecture was as long as any other lecture...
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: isn't the opposite of the free market an utopia too?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes Druth..I KNOW what you mean....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: wb Beertje
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I thought they were usually about 20 minutes
[13:23] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you
[13:23] herman Bergson: the plot is ok, but what all these people say is a horror..
[13:23] herman Bergson: no..max 10
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): aaah ok
[13:23] druth Vlodovic: I find it funny that people try to sell selfishness as a viable "moral"
[13:24] Farv Hallison: we take 10 minutes saying hello to each other.
[13:24] druth Vlodovic: I suspect they do it in order to cause their victims to accept what they do
[13:24] herman Bergson: Atlas Shrugged is only bearable from an intellctual point of view....
[13:24] herman Bergson: in the sense that you have to have read it...
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Herman, when you started off saying 'Greed is good' etc... Was that your view?
[13:24] herman Bergson: No Merlin it was a quote from the movie Wall Street
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): OK well I recognised that it was a quote
[13:25] herman Bergson: I accept that greed exists in us...
[13:25] Mistyowl Warrhol: I had it very clearly explained to me once, there is a big difference, in being selfish and taking care of self. When we are taking care of ourselves properly, that is good.. being selfish is not good.
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: greed is never good, just thinking about oneself cause of money
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: and to get all for yourself
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats greed
[13:25] Jaelle Faerye: bye all, sorry have to go
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Jaelle
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: but thats how way too many thinks nowadays
[13:25] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): tot ziens jaelle
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Greed envy sloth etc all not good...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Misty...big difference
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Pride
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol, thats another one
[13:26] druth Vlodovic: well, you don't want to go overboard into automatic martyrdom either
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I quite like Sloth myself :P
[13:27] herman Bergson: Sloth ???
[13:27] druth Vlodovic: but if you are to interact with others you should care for them at least a bit, in a society it is necessary to care for the society and it's members
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: very important
[13:27] Mick Nerido: Sloth=lazyness
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Somehow I think there is a bigger picture
[13:27] herman Bergson: Well Druth...and THAT is exactly the big problem at the moment...
[13:28] Mistyowl Warrhol: I am going to find myself not getting on one of my soap boxes, with this topic !!!!
[13:28] herman Bergson: Money isn't there to serve society...
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): the future of civilization
[13:28] herman Bergson: money is there to make more money
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: no its to serve only the ones who already have it seem nowadays
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: take banks for ex
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...
[13:29] Mick Nerido: power corrupts us...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: now we have to pay to even get our payout from work out at least for the ones not using the internet
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: and everything goes down in the bank directors pocket
[13:29] herman Bergson: One of the complains here is that banks arent interested in their clients but only in their own interest..making money
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: before in time banks was for us, now we are for the banks instead
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: no good development at all and get worse and worse
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: the rich gets richer the poor poorer
[13:30] Mistyowl Warrhol: Come to the USA.. We can teach you about GREED.
[13:30] herman Bergson: You need a bonus, Bejiita ㋡
[13:30] druth Vlodovic: actually one of the problems is that the bank doesn't have any real existence, the CEOs of the bank make decisions in "their" own interests and the bank itself can go hang, often
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: haha id wand to steal those bonuses and give to everyone
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: like Robin Hood
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: we'd really need someone like that today
[13:31] Farv Hallison: Obama is Robin Hood
[13:31] herman Bergson: Welcome back Alaya ㋡
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hmm i think obama is a not so bad guy , kind of nice
[13:31] Farv Hallison: hello Alaya, kiss
[13:31] herman Bergson: That is why the republicans want to hang him, Farv
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: like his attitudes in general i think
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: but not so involved in details
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman , have to go...
[13:31] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): hi^^
[13:31] JFA (janfolkert.alter) is Offline
[13:32] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye Mick
[13:32] Farv Hallison: bye Mick
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: cu Mick
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:32] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Apologis
[13:32] Mot Mann is Offline
[13:33] Mistyowl Warrhol: I judge how well a politician by how fiercely the republican go after them.. So by that standard, Obama is a great Pres.
[13:33] oola Neruda: Obama IS good...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Good one Misty
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well....
[13:34] herman Bergson: I think we will study some basic Tea Party believes here in class ourselves...
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: and definitly much better then bush "world destroyer"
[13:34] herman Bergson: Ayn Rand will help us...
[13:34] Mistyowl Warrhol: Obama's sin is he supports the EPA, which seriously, will cut into the profits of the polluting.. er, bad guys.
[13:34] herman Bergson: just take the title of one of her books "The Virtue of Selfishness"
[13:35] herman Bergson: I guess we better leave American national politics outside this philosophy class ^_^
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: its a global problem and the middle classes have to pay everything
[13:35] druth Vlodovic: I'm still trying to work up the necessary lack of sense to read my copy :(
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: try to keep it "philosophical" :)
[13:36] herman Bergson: I guess you have a point there Lizzy...
[13:36] Mistyowl Warrhol: LOL you can talk about us, if you dont mind some blood shed !!!
[13:36] herman Bergson: Let's keep it philosophical ㋡
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: the divide between "middle" and "low" classes seems to me to be a divide and conquer tactic by the powers that be
[13:37] Farv Hallison: From Greek philosophy to Greek demostrations in the 21 Century.
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: the middle classes have more wealth but much less time, and much more to lose, so they can be controlled if isolated
[13:37] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): what is the philosophy behind free market ideology?
[13:37] herman Bergson: issue is indeed how to divide the wealth among the members of a society....
[13:37] Mistyowl Warrhol: (For those of you that do not know me well, I live less than 50 miles from what was known as the "Bush Ranch". I am a liberal in the heart of Tea Party country.
[13:38] herman Bergson: ssssstttt Misty.. !!!!!
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): hehe
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hahah
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: middle class is the only class who can pay, poor people can't pay and rich people save their money
[13:39] herman Bergson: I think we have a good subject for this project...
[13:39] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): i think that a bottle of milk is the same price for anybody
[13:39] Mistyowl Warrhol: There is a difference in giving to others and assisting them.
[13:40] Farv Hallison: The tax code favors those in power by taxing them at a lower rate.
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well my friends, a new project is born....
[13:41] oola Neruda whispers: i think we need to include the role of propaganda in the
[13:41] herman Bergson: And from what I hear in this discussion...
[13:41] oola Neruda: "selling" of the financial situation
[13:41] herman Bergson: it can be a lot of intellectual fun....
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: can be really interesting for sure
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: look forward to it
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: it will be exciting because we are all concerned actually
[13:41] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): oh good. we usually go off-topic
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: yes exactly
[13:41] Mistyowl Warrhol: It is not going to get boring, I dont think :-)
[13:41] druth Vlodovic: ah, I'd love to see an analysis done here on the effect of propaganda on people's thought processes, and their actions as part of a society
[13:42] herman Bergson: Ok then...thank you all for this healty kick-off....
[13:42] oola Neruda: do we consider Ayn Rand propaganda?
[13:42] oola Neruda: nowdays?
[13:42] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): lol
[13:42] Lizzy Pleides: have a nice vacation herman!
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Druth that sounds like one for Thothica
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: you're very daring herman, i hope you survive the project :)
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Isn't it all simply like dogs with bones? Those dogs that have snatched the bones try and defend them as best they can. Those without try and steal off them.
[13:42] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): it is a old thing resurrected
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: I'll have to suggest it to sim :)
[13:43] Mistyowl Warrhol: Take care everyone.. I will bring bandaids and ointments for our next lecture :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: I'll do my best Druth....!
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: i can say it gets my blood flowing for sure when i read about like here in sweden how the old people starve to death so that the owner of their care center can get a wealthy computer controlled home
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: when i read about that recently i really got mad
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: insane and this happens in sweden?
[13:43] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Something a bit like that in UK too
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: cause of a scandal company named carema
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes...the Free Market
[13:44] druth Vlodovic: it is a complete lack of proportion, the ability to assess costs to others is basic to morality
[13:44] herman Bergson: Our next target!
[13:44] herman Bergson: Thank you all!
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: they privaticed the elder care to them and it went a hell
[13:44] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): maybe it will turn into a flee market to pay depts
[13:44] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thank you Herman
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Thanks Herman
[13:44] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): byby herman
[13:44] Velvet (velvet.braham): Thank you
[13:44] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ㋡
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: aa have a good vacation now herman
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] Farv Hallison: Thank you Herman
[13:44] Mistyowl Warrhol: Well, in Texas, we just balanced our budget by withdrawing money from utility companies, from funds set aside to help seniors who could pay the bills..
[13:45] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: looks forward to this for sure
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye everyone
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: and happy valentine
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: \o/
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: || Hoooo!
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: / \
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Monday, February 13, 2012

382: The Mystery of the Brain concluded

After 115 lectures on the brain it is time to come to a conclusion and the extensive study,which this project required has led me to a conclusion indeed.

It all began September 2010 !!!! Then I said this:
"For me this is going to be a special project. It is not just an academic presentation of a subject with many different points of view possible. It will be a personal stand. I will stand for a materialist theory of mind.

This means that the series of lectures I have scheduled will be a kind of argumentation to make my point. However, it is not my intention that at the end of the semester you all have to say: yes you are right.

The lectures and the research for them will be more of a test, a searching for the answer whether the materialist view is tenable or not, to clarify the arguments in favor and against this view."

My view on materialism is no longer the same as it was in 1976 due to my lectures. Everything we know about the brain, consciousness is causally reducible to brain processes;

and for that reason I deny that the ontological irreducibility of consciousness implies that consciousness is something ‘over and above’, something distinct from, its neurobiological base.

No, causally speaking, there is nothing there, except the neurobiology, which has a higher level feature of consciousness.

In a similar way there is nothing in the car engine except molecules, which have such higher level features as the solidity of the cylinder block, the shape of the piston, the firing of the spark plug, etc.

Consciousness’ does not name a distinct, separate phenomenon, something over and above its neurobiological base, rather it names a state that the neurobiological system can be in.

Just as the shape of the piston and the solidity of the cylinder block are not something over and above the molecular phenomena,

but are rather states of the system of molecules, so the consciousness of the brain is not something over and above the neuronal phenomena, but rather a state that the neuronal system is in.

This is how John Searle (1932 - …) states his view and it is a better view then my support of the Identity Theory in 1976 as my graduation thesis, in which mental states were semantically reduced to material states.

I still stand by the view that materialism is the correct metaphysics today and that there does not exist anything else but matter.

Matter has higher level features and one of those features is consciousness. The most important scientific problem of the present era is one that until recently most scientists did not regard as a suitable topic for scientific investigation at all.

It is simply this: How exactly do brain processes cause consciousness? Given our present models of brain functioning, it would be an answer to the question. "How do lower level neuronal firings at the synaptic connection cause all of our subjective experiences!

In other words, consciousness is a natural biological phenomenon that does not fit comfortably into either of the traditional categories of mental and physical. It is caused by lower-level microprocesses in the brain and it is a feature of the brain at the higher macro levels.

I reject the view, that consciousness is something more than the neurological features of the brain like the property dualist does.

The property dualist means that in addition to all the neurobiological features of the brain, there is an extra, distinct, nonphysical feature of the brain;

whereas I mean that consciousness is a state the brain can be in, in the way that liquidity and solidity are states that water can be in.

This is the final lecture of The Mystery of the Brain project. For me it is not an endpoint, but, on the contrary, a real new startingpoint. I hope for you too.

The next project will be something totally different. The title is "The Utopia of the Free Market", the worldwide financial crisis from a philosophical perspective.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: brilliant!!
[13:21] Agnos (agnos): Thank you Herman
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: have been interesting
[13:22] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..the floor is yours
[13:22] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:22] Loo Zeta: :)
[13:22] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): thank you Herman:))
[13:22] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): free market oh boy
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I have a thought on it
[13:22] herman Bergson: Go ahead Merlin
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): To me ... I can more easily accept there is something non-material about life itself, ...and biology
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: QWARKIEEEE
[13:23] Qwark Allen: ㋡ ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°• Helloooooo! •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜ ㋡
[13:23] Qwark Allen: Hey!
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ☆*¨¨*:•.•:*¨* hallo hello hi holla *¨¨*:•.•:*¨*☆
[13:23] Qwark Allen: ;-)
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): late guy
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes I know Merlin.....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: just missed grand finale
[13:23] Jaelle Faerye: hi all, btw
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): taking lessons from you know who
[13:23] herman Bergson: this dualism is so deeply rooted in our culture...
[13:24] herman Bergson: It is everywhere...except in cognitive sciences and neurobiology...
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Do you think that idea is very similar to conventional Dualism?
[13:24] Sybyle Perdide: hello Jaelle hi Qwark
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: is there really a contradiction?
[13:24] herman Bergson: in what sense Lizzy?
[13:25] Lizzy Pleides: consciousness is a quality
[13:25] Lizzy Pleides: and not a matter, right?
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): thats how I understand it too
[13:25] herman Bergson: liquidity is a feature of H2o molecules
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Im a bit uneasy about that
[13:26] herman Bergson: Just look at liquidity....
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: why shoudln't exist a non material about life despite
[13:26] herman Bergson: molecules in a certain state, the lower micro system, generate a feature in a higher system...
[13:27] Loo Zeta: But at zero it is frozen, so changes consistency
[13:27] herman Bergson: under other conditions the water could be solid....
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: yes cause the circumstances change
[13:27] Jarapanda Snook: given that the higher apes share 98% of our genes, their physical state is not unlike outs - would we regard them as conscious?
[13:27] Loo Zeta: yes
[13:27] Mistyowl Warrhol: Or vapor
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: and molecules slow and bind to each other forming a solid
[13:27] herman Bergson: we have physics to explain this all to us...
[13:27] herman Bergson: the problem with consciousness from this perspective is,
[13:28] Loo Zeta: Apes have been shown to have conscious states
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: different liquids have different points depending on how tightly molecules bind
[13:28] herman Bergson: that it is a huge scientific challenge to find out
[13:28] Loo Zeta: They carry round dead young until they can separate
[13:28] herman Bergson: how our neurons can generate that feature we call consciousness....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: oxygen and hydrogen by themselves have very low binding forces , take several 100 degrees below 0 c to get them liquid
[13:29] Sybyle Perdide: but even if you accept this physical model
[13:29] Sybyle Perdide: there are new mysteries within it
[13:29] Sybyle Perdide: so every snowflake has a different pattern
[13:29] herman Bergson: the basic idea is that it is a natural biological process that our brain generates consciousness....
[13:29] Sybyle Perdide: despite the same aggregate state
[13:29] Jarapanda Snook: but I would not attribute consciousness to a few billion water molecles - whatever you can say about their biding powers
[13:30] herman Bergson: I never observed any consciousness in snowflakes...
[13:30] Lizzy Pleides: lol
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:30] herman Bergson: I guess we better stick to biology here
[13:30] Sybyle Perdide: i never get liquid consciousness
[13:30] Loo Zeta: :D
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: cause no biochemical processes going on between water molecules
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: water is stable
[13:30] Jarapanda Snook: there is always a tendency to suspect something metaphysical, even though I am a scientist
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: nonreactive
[13:30] herman Bergson: depends on how much wine you drank Sybyle :-))
[13:30] Mistyowl Warrhol: can get liquid unconsciousness.. !
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes Jara....I know the feeling..
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: that would be of there is bacteria in there but i dont thingc bacteria can feel anything
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: only single cells
[13:31] Mistyowl Warrhol: But the metaphysical, is that which has not been explained yet..
[13:32] Jarapanda Snook: so that is a paradox, then Herman? We cannot prove against the metaphysical
[13:32] herman Bergson: what do you mean Jara?
[13:32] herman Bergson: We can prove that dualists are wrong...
[13:33] herman Bergson: or at least lack the arguments to prove their case
[13:34] Jarapanda Snook: well - I see it as a paradox that we cannot prove scientifically any material link between consciousness and matter, but we suspect it to be the case, whereas we easily think there might be something of a higher power
[13:35] herman Bergson: Ahh…good point Jara....
[13:35] herman Bergson: The fact is that we observe the brain and what it does.....
[13:35] herman Bergson: there is no paradox here
[13:35] herman Bergson: It is just the fact that we simple don't know how those braincells fix it
[13:36] Jarapanda Snook: fair enough
[13:36] herman Bergson: and that is not so upsetting….
[13:36] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Many people who believe in this higher power are illogical
[13:36] herman Bergson: neuroscience is hardly 30 years old at the level it is now
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): very young
[13:36] herman Bergson: besides that....when you look behind me at the picture...
[13:37] Loo Zeta: Sometimes you have to accept the illogical
[13:37] herman Bergson: we are developing technology only this very days....
[13:37] herman Bergson: it is all so new...
[13:37] Jarapanda Snook: I don't believe in a higher power, don't get me wrong, but it is difficult to see how a bunch of neurons can make me self aware
[13:37] Mistyowl Warrhol: Just think what another 10 years can bring.
[13:38] herman Bergson: There is nothing illogical here, Loo, just the limitation of our knowledge of today in these matters
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Misty.....
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): This bunch of neurons is quite a big bunch
[13:38] herman Bergson: the development of neurosciences is going so fast these days....
[13:39] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Look at the way digital data can express detail and subtlety
[13:39] Loo Zeta: I have melded science and faith for the last 30 odd years
[13:39] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): And even text made up of discreet letters
[13:39] Jarapanda Snook: interesting, Loo - what branch of science?
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes that stays an issue in our culture Loo
[13:39] Mistyowl Warrhol: What if they can get the brain to heal itself like an infants.. well, not heal, but take over parts that are missing.
[13:39] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): seems to convey an infinite complexity
[13:40] herman Bergson: That already happens Misty....
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): already doing that in a way misty
[13:40] Mistyowl Warrhol: in adults?
[13:40] herman Bergson: the brain is not a static grey mass but highly flexible and adaptive
[13:40] Jarapanda Snook: there are more possible combinations of synapses in the human brain than atoms in the universe
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes in adults too
[13:41] herman Bergson: Oh that might be true Jara....
[13:41] Loo Zeta: I have a degree in health science, studied psychology and sociology applied to biological science
[13:41] Loo Zeta: I am also a commited Christian ... *now ducks*
[13:41] herman Bergson: The brain is the most complex organ in the known universe
[13:41] Mistyowl Warrhol: I have seen a infant with a quarter of his brain removed at 2 weeks, and the opposite had completely taken over those functions by the time I saw him at 18 mo.. Adults can do that?
[13:41] herman Bergson: dotn duck Loo
[13:41] Jarapanda Snook: don't duck - no-ones throwing bricks in here!
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:42] Loo Zeta: :)
[13:42] herman Bergson: The first one who dared I would ban immediately
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: throws a truckload of bricks
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:42] herman Bergson: Behave Bejiita :-)
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:42] Mistyowl Warrhol: Looking for my snowballs, finding one big enough to hide a brick.
[13:42] Sybyle Perdide: we can use the bricks for a church
[13:42] Jarapanda Snook: but I find it interesting... I am an atheist, and the more science i have encountered over the years the more committed an atheist I become
[13:43] herman Bergson: Well Jara....
[13:43] Jarapanda Snook: to me religion is bout filling gaps in knowledge, and the more we learn the lees gaps we have
[13:44] herman Bergson: They once did a survey among the members of the Royal Academy of Science in England about the relation religion - science...
[13:44] Sybyle Perdide: are you sure, Jara
[13:44] Jarapanda Snook: and i bet they were all religious lol
[13:44] herman Bergson: only 3% said to be religious
[13:44] Jarapanda Snook: oh right
[13:44] Sybyle Perdide: the more I learn, the more gaps I am able to recognize
[13:44] herman Bergson: combined with scientific work
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I see it more as a frontier than as gaps
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): a boundary between the known and the unknown
[13:45] herman Bergson: Welll there is a tendency of religion bashing these days...
[13:45] herman Bergson: Dawkins, Harris...guys like that
[13:45] herman Bergson: I dont know.....
[13:45] Jarapanda Snook: what do they say about it ?
[13:46] Loo Zeta: I am a midwife every day I observe the miracle of birth, I understand the biomedical feedback of respiration etc
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well some ppl do try to use religion to explain all the unknown stuff
[13:46] herman Bergson: I say about it that it is a bit arrogant....
[13:46] Loo Zeta: But sti it makes me cry at times, and I am an old cynic
[13:46] Jarapanda Snook: that's how i see it
[13:46] herman Bergson: as if we have all answers
[13:46] Jarapanda Snook: awww
[[13:46] herman Bergson: let me put it this way....
[13:46] herman Bergson: consciousness is a feature of the brain....
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes herman, Im listening
[13:47] herman Bergson: those braincells do the trick....
[13:47] Mistyowl Warrhol: I think most ppl will agree that are forces in the universe that create and destroy, I think we all believe in that, just call it different names. We still acknowledge those forces of "nature".
[13:47] herman Bergson: We have hardly any idea how they do it
[13:47] herman Bergson: That is only the brain....
[13:48] herman Bergson: what about the rest of the we know exactly all features
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): not yet and maybe never
[13:48] Jarapanda Snook: BUT herman - back to my original point - our brains are similar to a monkey's, but what makes us self aware to such an extent?
[13:48] herman Bergson: Like they look for higgs particles....
[13:48] Mistyowl Warrhol: Loo, anyone who has helped a new soul come into this life, will always have a diffrerent view of life in general.
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yes Jara…I dont know...nobody knows....but it is a scientific and emperical question
[13:49] Loo Zeta: We have a far more developed frontal lobe, which contains personality and conciousness
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yes Loo, we know where we have put the stuff :-)
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: and another thing why are humans the only species that have a language, all the other beings just have a single sound they can emit
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: a bit hard for them to communicate
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Surely though, apes and other mammals have just as much perception as we do
[13:50] Loo Zeta: I was a Chrisian before midwifery .... but it is more when those souls are lost and we do not have answers we seek beyond ourselves
[13:50] herman Bergson: but how that prefrontal lobe makes us aware...we don't know...only THAT it makes us aware of things
[13:50] Jarapanda Snook: but the material of their brains is the same material as ours...
[13:50] Mistyowl Warrhol: a lot of animals use "speak'.. such as whales.
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: dogs bark cats meow but that is like our language would contain one single letter
[13:50] Mistyowl Warrhol: Hey Mick.
[13:50] Sybyle Perdide: hi Mick
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: hi mick
[13:50] Mick Nerido: i got way laid
[13:50] Jarapanda Snook: Mick, you're late - very late ;-)
[13:50] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I think you missed it
[13:50] herman Bergson: The same as our, you say, Jara....
[13:51] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): another student of rodney
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: some animals can use different tone sequences at least
[13:51] herman Bergson: There is only one answer possible...
[13:51] herman Bergson: That can not be the case...for our brain produces consciousness in a very special way
[13:51] herman Bergson: So there must be something more...
[13:52] Jarapanda Snook: so there is something else..
[13:52] herman Bergson: something in which we differ from the chimpanse
[13:52] Jarapanda Snook: yep
[13:52] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Oh I don't think so
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or any other animal
[13:52] herman Bergson: a scientific challenge, I would say
[13:52] Jarapanda Snook: is it just complexity?
[13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): possibly
[13:52] Jarapanda Snook: or wiring?
[13:52] herman Bergson: I would say YES, Jara
[13:53] herman Bergson: both I guess
[13:53] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): We have better logic etc, but I think our perceptions are the same
[13:53] Loo Zeta: Our perceptions are built on schematic experience ours are more complex
[13:54] herman Bergson: just a simple fact.....
[13:54] herman Bergson: we include time in our perceptions...
[13:54] herman Bergson: past present and future....animals dont, I guess
[13:54] Mick Nerido: Feb 11 2011 issue of ScienceNews "Eye on I" consciousness under the lense intersting read
[13:54] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I agree with that
[13:55] Loo Zeta: :)
[13:55] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): except that if you include time, is it still perception or does it become deduction etc
[13:55] Jarapanda Snook: how do you know that - I would think that a migrating whale must have some perception of time?
[13:56] Loo Zeta: Well Whales are far superior in many ways
[13:56] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): their perception like birds is by the llight of the sun
[13:56] herman Bergson: Not neccessarily Jara...the whael just reacts on the temperatures of the ocean waters etc....
[13:56] Loo Zeta: magnetic ability
[13:56] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): the sun
[13:56] herman Bergson: interacting with its environment triggers the impulses
[13:56] Loo Zeta: Sonar
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: aa yes some animals seem to be able to use the earth's magnetic field to oriendt like we use a compass
[13:57] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): noooo
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:57] herman Bergson: pigeons...
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: they have a built in one or something
[13:57] Jarapanda Snook: if it were brain size alone that was the precursor if consciousness then Whales must be the first in line
[13:57] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Herman, what you say is applicable to lower animals but not higher ones like whales
[13:57] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): our feelings of time are based on the sun too
[13:57] Loo Zeta: Men have bigger brains than women..... so no
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): OMG!!!
[13:57] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): omg
[13:58] Loo Zeta: :)
[13:58] herman Bergson: ^_^
[13:58] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I suppose it is a sliding scale. shades of grey
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): dont get into that!!!
[13:58] Jarapanda Snook: HA!
[13:58] Mistyowl Warrhol: yep, leaving that one alone, yep, yep, yep
[13:58] herman Bergson: I think it is time to shut down my brain.....^_^
[13:58] Mick Nerido: Neanderthals had bigger brains then modern humans...
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: haha
[13:58] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): been there done that several times in this class!!!!!!!!!
[13:59] Loo Zeta: :D
[13:59] herman Bergson: So….thank you all for your participation....this was a great adventure
[13:59] Jarapanda Snook: if men have bigger brains - which bits are bigger?
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:59] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Herman
[13:59] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:59] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:59] Jarapanda Snook: Thank You Herman
[13:59] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): not suere i am looking forward to free market!!!!!!!!
[13:59] Mick Nerido: sorry to miss class
[13:59] herman Bergson: And I rest my case.....
[13:59] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): thank you Herman:)
[13:59] Mistyowl Warrhol: Good discuss, much to ponder on :-)
[14:00] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[14:00] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): for now
[14:00] Qwark Allen: ˜*•. ˜”*°•.˜”*°• Bye ! •°*”˜.•°*”˜ .•*˜ ㋡
[14:00] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): bye gemma
[14:00] Qwark Allen: glad i made it
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: aa cu
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: this have been great
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: hope next theme will be as interesting
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: keep it up Herman
[14:00] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[14:00] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye class&herman :o) ......see you tuesday!! greetings to you, in the universe :-)
[14:01] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): ducks....
[14:01] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[14:01] Loo Zeta: :D thanks again
[14:01] herman Bergson: Cant promise you anything Bejiita, but I think it is going to be fun subject
[14:01] herman Bergson: We are all in the crisis
[14:01] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): bye all..have a goodnight
[14:02] Sybyle Perdide: bye rose
[14:02] Loo Zeta: Goodnight to you too
[14:02] Blackrose (blackrose.baroque): bye Herman
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: cu
[14:02] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Herman, and everyone
[14:02] Mistyowl Warrhol: TC everyone.. hugs till next time :)
[14:02] herman Bergson: Bye Merlin
[14:02] Jaelle Faerye: Bye all
[14:02] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[14:03] Loo Zeta: Thanks all

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

381: The Brain, determinism and Free Will

In The Critique of Pure Reason (first published in 1781), the German philosopher Immanuel Kant maintained that causation was one of the fundamental concepts that rendered the empirical world comprehensible to humans.

By the beginning of the twenty-first century, psychology was beginning to show just how pervasive human reasoning concerning cause and effect is.

Even young children seem to naturally organize their knowledge of the world according to relations of cause and effect.

Causal determinism states that future events are necessitated by past and present events combined with the laws of nature.

Imagine an entity that knows all facts about the past and the present, and knows all natural laws that govern the universe.

If the laws of nature were determinate, then such an entity would be able to use this knowledge to foresee the future, down to the smallest detail.

Biological determinism is the idea that all behaviors, beliefs, and desires are fixed by our genetic endowment and our biochemical makeup, the latter of which is affected by both genes and environment.

These interpretations of determinism leave little room for a free will. On the other hand, suppose your free will means your ability to choose A over B…just like that.

No reason for the choice…just out of the blue you choose A, because you are driven by free will. Somehow that doesn't feel good. You think, you need a motivation for your choice.

But was it free will then, or a choice determined by motives. And where do those motives come from? Aren't they caused by other thoughts or experiences?

Somehow we must find some explanation, that allows causation and on the other hand can not causally explain, why we chose A over B, which could mean that determinism is compatible with free will.

We could argue that determinism does not matter; what matters is that individuals' wills are the result of their own desires and are not overridden by some external force.

So, what is free will. Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679), claimed that a person acts on their own only when the person wanted to do the act and the person could have done otherwise, if the person had decided to.

You also can speak of free will as positive liberty, defined as having the power and resources to fulfill one's own potential (this may include freedom from internal constraints), as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint.

But you also could argue that there are cases where a coerced individual's choices are still free because such coercion coincides with the individual's personal intentions and desires.

David Hume (1711 - 1776) discussed the possibility that the entire debate about free will is nothing more than a merely "verbal" issue.

He suggested that it might be accounted for by "a false sensation or seeming experience" which is associated with many of our actions when we perform them. On reflection, we realize that they were necessary and determined all along.

It seems that we don't need brain scans and neuroscientific evidence to come to the conclusion, that the idea of free will is a verbal issue.

Just think about the meaning of the word "free" in relation to willing. Free from what? We can not act without a reason or a cause. And if we can not find one, Freud has taught us that there are many subconscious reasons too.

So, free will, is it really that interesting? Did Hobbes define the idea of free here the best? We act and we take responsibility for our actions, that is how the system works.

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:24] Jaelle Faerye: Thank you Herman
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you herman
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well yes, thats a clear statement of the dilemma
[13:25] herman Bergson: it is up to your free will to react or have a question ㋡
[13:25] herman Bergson: YES MERLIN....
[13:25] Sybyle Perdide: thank you
[13:25] Mick Nerido: If i were to throw dice to determine a choice that would be free will?
[13:25] herman Bergson: The more I studied the subject the less I got interested in that concept of "free"
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Even dice are not truly random
[13:26] Jaelle Faerye: yes
[13:26] Jaelle Faerye: "free" is the keyword
[13:26] herman Bergson: Mick, there was a reason to use dice
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes Jaelle...
[13:26] herman Bergson: and to be honest..don't know what to do with it
[13:27] Jaelle Faerye: haaa
[13:27] Mick Nerido: to eliminate my choice leaving it purely to chance
[13:27] Jaelle Faerye: haven't you aver done that, Mick?
[13:27] Jaelle Faerye: throw dice
[13:27] herman Bergson: you wouldnt accept that Mick
[13:27] Jaelle Faerye: or flip a coin
[13:27] druth Vlodovic: I suspect that part of the problem is the idea of an unchangeable" core self"
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I have sometimes tossed a coin
[13:27] Jaelle Faerye: and find out you want the OTHER solution
[13:27] Mick Nerido: i threw a dart at a map to choose a vacation destination
[13:27] herman Bergson: all actions that are rationalisations of a situation
[13:28] Jaelle Faerye: yes
[13:28] Mick Nerido: vacation
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ah'
[13:28] Jaelle Faerye: and the dice or coin can help us see what we don't want
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I'm very interested in divination actually.
[13:28] druth Vlodovic: lol "asking for advice just means you know what you want to do and don't like it."
[13:28] Jaelle Faerye: just clarify the choice as unacceptable
[13:28] Jaelle Faerye: yes
[13:28] Jaelle Faerye: maybe
[13:28] herman Bergson: yes Druth ^_^
[13:29] herman Bergson: let me put it this way....
[13:29] Jaelle Faerye: or maybe you respect someone's insight and you want to get another way of thinking around your issue
[13:29] herman Bergson: we behave...choose al the time...90% subconsciously even....
[13:29] herman Bergson: but in conscious choices........
[13:30] herman Bergson: I think there is the ability to veto our choice...
[13:30] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): is reacting on a trigger free will?...even if the reaction is very bad and you never have chosen if you had the choise?
[13:31] herman Bergson: like the golf player swings his club an d in a split second says "No, not the good swing" and misses the ball
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: but why would you want to play a bad swing
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: ?
[13:31] herman Bergson: we are conditioned to a high level in behavior Beertje..yes
[13:32] herman Bergson: No Bekiita....
[13:32] herman Bergson: in the movement of the swing he feels it isnt the right one
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: i want to hit the ball as good as i call all times sometimes very good otherwise it go not as good but i always try to go for the best shot possible
[13:32] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): so reacting on a trigger is free will?...did I understood that right?
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: if you practice something oftenly it belongs to subconsciousness
[13:33] druth Vlodovic: if you can train your trigger then it can be
[13:33] herman Bergson: no Beertje..that is conditioned behavior...
[13:33] herman Bergson: What is the meaning of all advertising???To deprive us of our free will
[[13:34] Jaelle Faerye: depends
[13:34] herman Bergson: Bu tin the the very moment we buy the producct a split second...we can say NO
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: i use to say that some of it can be good to inform us about a good product and then it also SHOULD be good
[13:34] Mick Nerido: advertising tries to sell us something not deprive us of free will
[13:34] Jaelle Faerye: depends what you call advertising
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: however they don't have to show coca cola commercials evenry now and then for example
[13:34] Jaelle Faerye: a billboard a sign
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i already KNOW its a good product that taste good
[13:35] Jaelle Faerye: something can INFORM you
[13:35] herman Bergson: no no...I understand....
[13:35] druth Vlodovic: it seeks to condition our responses, if you try to maintain consciousness of your decisions then the effect tends to be more limited
[13:35] Jaelle Faerye: that there is a grocery here, for instance
[13:35] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): not every product that taste good is good for your health
[13:35] herman Bergson: we are not deprived of our free will , we are just influenced....biased eventually
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: advertising is not = information
[13:36] Jaelle Faerye: okay
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hmm thats one thing indeed for example i don't drink a 2 litre bottle now and then but some people do and thats way too much sugar
[13:36] herman Bergson: no Lizzy…advertising is trying to control our will
[13:36] Lizzy Pleides: nods
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: its tasty but should not drink too much
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: it's not coercion, though it is an attempt at conditioning
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: should
[13:36] herman Bergson: and in such situations...I think...
[13:36] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): they try us to believe that we can't live without the product
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:36] herman Bergson: if you want to know what free will means is our ability to say NO at any given moment
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: like apple and their ipads and iphones
[13:36] Sybyle Perdide: if we are looking for free will, we have to find the gap between the different causes, that will work
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Advertisers would take away our free will if they could
[13:37] Sybyle Perdide: or better, if there is such a gap, in which we can act free
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: dont like apple at all esp not after i read about the workers in china commiting suicide
[13:37] Mick Nerido: thats right just say no.
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: made me really sad
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: and their damn lock in policies
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Was that because they could not get the new phone?
[13:38] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): it's your free will to NOT bye the stuff bejiita
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: tried to get an ipod working for a friend but the damn software that they require itunes didnt want to work at all,
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje....
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: with other things u plug it in the usb transfer your stuff no prob
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: thats how it should be
[13:39] herman Bergson: At this moment I am inclined to say that free will is not defined by the freedom of wanting something, but by our ability to say any situation
[13:39] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): why so angry about that stuff Bejiita? don't have to buy that
[13:39] druth Vlodovic: you'd have to want to say "no" at some level
[13:39] Mick Nerido: I freely choose to be at Philosophy class lol
[13:40] herman Bergson: yes could say NO at any moment and not come
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: if you see through the advertisement you can decide against the product
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: when it comes to stuff like that I am more for open solutions and luckily there are such ones too
[13:40] Mick Nerido: but there are many unconscious reasons I don'y
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: yes thats an important thing , to see through commercials and similar things
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes Mick, but yet....
[13:41] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i wiped my husband out free will from this chair behind the comp to be here in this class
[13:41] herman Bergson: at this moment ...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: i always think twice
[13:41] herman Bergson: if you want a definition of free will...
[13:41] Sybyle Perdide: please
[13:41] Sybyle Perdide: :)
[13:41] herman Bergson: I would say..our ability free from any coercion to say NO
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: the more knowledge you have the easier you can decide
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: but i like to test new things and if they are good i stick with it if they are bad i look for something else
[13:42] Jaelle Faerye: i disagree Lizzy
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: to find just the things i want
[13:42] Jaelle Faerye: the more knowledge you have, the more options you see
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:42] Jaelle Faerye: the more difficult is the choice
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:43] herman Bergson: but youstill can say NO
[13:43] Jaelle Faerye: yes
[13:43] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): true Herman..everybody can say NO
[13:43] herman Bergson: whatever options you have...
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: u can laways do that indeed
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: what now, yes or no?
[13:44] herman Bergson: well..if determinism means that all our actions are caused ...then free willmeans...NO
[13:44] herman Bergson: which means...we ignore the causes and just say..I dont do it
[13:44] Jaelle Faerye: yes
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:44] herman Bergson: for the rst we are ok by that fact that our actions are caused....
[13:45] herman Bergson: we go to the supermarket and buy the product that was advertized on tv...we don't care...but we could have said NO
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hmm yes at least partially depending on what it is to do at moment
[[13:46] Sybyle Perdide: but this no is caused on knowledge too
[13:46] Lizzy Pleides: because we have the knowledge about how advertisement is made
[13:46] Sybyle Perdide: it need not to be free will
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: if i work are at home for ex, choose actions depending from what my current action is
[13:46] herman Bergson: could say that the NO is cause d by other inner causes....
[13:47] Sybyle Perdide: the difficulty is to get to a point where our different knowledges and so on are in standoff situation
[13:47] Mick Nerido: thats why i use chance when i am not sure
[13:47] Sybyle Perdide: but I don't know how to manage
[13:47] herman Bergson: for instance, because you hate to follow TV commercials by buying the products
[13:47] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): one has to feel good by saying NO..otherwise it's not a good choice
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes Beertje....
[13:48] herman Bergson: the NO is a personal victory :-)
[13:48] druth Vlodovic: or "yes"
[13:48] herman Bergson: smiles..
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: depending if u like it or not
[13:48] herman Bergson: OK and then you may say YES
[13:48] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): is it all about personal victory..the free will I mean?
[13:49] druth Vlodovic: the secret I think is to be deliberate in making yourself into the sort of person you want to be, so your choices will follow
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: i think for example that this is interesting so therefore im here at the moment
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: and also have many friends here thats another thing to it
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: stuff like that
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:49] Mick Nerido: when a girl says no does she mean yes?
[13:49] Lizzy Pleides: if everbody sais NO you can say NO to the NO, what means Yes
[13:49] Jaelle Faerye: uh oh
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: makes me say yes to this
[13:49] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): nó Mick
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: u mean that they play hard to get when they like you or?
[13:50] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): she means no..
[13:50] druth Vlodovic: if your choice is just to pull against the mainstream then it's not really a choice,
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:50] herman Bergson: Simple and correct logic Lizzy...
[13:50] herman Bergson: when they all say NO you may say YES
[13:50] herman Bergson: which is equivalent to NO NO ㋡
[13:51] druth Vlodovic: for it to be a real choice it has to be carefully considered along a number of dimensions
[13:52] herman Bergson: You know.....
[13:52] druth Vlodovic: even if the final decision is what everyone else chose as well it is still worth it to go through the process of deeply considering it first
[13:52] herman Bergson: I hardly have an idea what free will is....
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: its interesting subject for sure
[13:53] herman Bergson: I know that all behavior has causes....conscious and subconscious....
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: and tricky indeed
[13:53] Sybyle Perdide: is there someone who has an idea, Herman?
[13:53] Mick Nerido: it's something like liberty...
[13:54] herman Bergson: So when I can do what I do and nobody is keeping me from doing it...I guess I am using my free will in a deterministic context
[13:54] Lizzy Pleides: and what is liberty, .. a feeling only?!
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: id say many of my choises are based on what i do at moment but then i have based in that a group of actions i can take and choose between as i like
[13:54] herman Bergson: and that can define responsability....
[13:55] herman Bergson: I can try to kill some one....everybody would stop me...because of our moral rituals
[13:55] Mick Nerido: liberty means free to choose.
[13:55] herman Bergson: Well...
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes things i know is wrong i cant make myself to choose on
[[13:55] Bejiita Imako: then its a no
e[13:56] herman Bergson: it is up to your own free will tho think about how fre you are to want things...
[13:56] druth Vlodovic: I remember the tactics i used on my kids to take away their choices without them knowing
[13:56] herman Bergson: I guess I have tortured your brains enough now...
[13:56] druth Vlodovic: "do you want a shower or a bath" only sounds like a choice... :)
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: same if i hold a very expensive vase, even if i could drop it free will i cant make myself to do it, or any other thing i dont want to break
[13:56] herman Bergson: So thank you all...
[13:56] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman
[13:57] Jaelle Faerye: thanks Herman
[13:57] herman Bergson: Class dismissed..
[[13:57] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:57] Sybyle Perdide: thank you Herman
[13:57] Lizzy Pleides: thanks to YOU Herman
[13:57] druth Vlodovic: thanks herman
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: tnx
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: really nice and interesting once again
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:57] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): very interesting Herman
[13:58] herman Bergson: Never knew that a free will could be so problematic ㋡
[13:58] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Anyone interested in psychology might be interested in a programme on Schizophrenia on BBC this morning....
[13:58] herman Bergson: Ahh....
[13:58] herman Bergson: thnx Merlin!
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:58] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:58] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): YW Herman. I was thinking I should tell people at the time I heard it.
[13:59] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Still available on the web
[13:59] herman Bergson: Good idea Merlin!
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: ok cu soon all

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380: Eavesdropping on the Brain

Before continuing with the question of Free Will I'd like to bring to your attention what was in my newspaper this morning.

For the first time neuroscientists of Berkeley University in California have been able to translate brain activity into understandable words.

The technique is still in its early stages. To "read" whole sentences is still impossible and the eavesdropping only works when electrodes are placed directly on the brain.

Yet the results are amazing: 6 out of 18 words could be reconstructed from brain activity and made understandable.

There is a small brain area just above the ear, in which tiny brain parts become only active when for instance, we hear a word.

Each tiny group of neurons is activated by just one specific sound or vibration, just like the keys of a piano keyboard are related to one specific sound each.

Fifteen patients who already had to undergo brain surgery for another reason volunteered for the research team of Brian Pasley.

They all got a pad full of electrodes placed on the speech center of the brain. The electrodes registered precisely which braincells became active when certain words were heard. And a language recognition program was able to convert the resulting diagrams into speech.

This of course is far from reading someone's thoughts. Only what the patient hears is decoded. But there is a remarkable resemblance between how the brain "hears' speech and how it imagines speech.

This brings us back to the intentionality of consciousness. Thoughts are not just thoughts, but always thoughts about something and do we think in language? Is thinking a kind of inner speech.

This is a first step in analyzing how a brain decodes sound. Maybe the next step is, assuming we think in language, to discover how the brain formulates its thoughts.

Allthough the debate on free will is as old as philosophy, it is mainly due to the publicity about neuroscientific discoveries, that free will, and especially free will as an illusion is high on the agenda again.

But an illusion? Is our consciousness telling us stories. How does that work?

As an illustration, some strategy board games have rigorous rules in which no information (such as cards' face values) is hidden from either player and no random events (such as dice rolling) occur in the game.

Nevertheless, strategy games like chess and especially Go, with its simple deterministic rules, can have an extremely large number of unpredictable moves.

This could be analogue to how we function as organisms with a brain. The brain as a material thing is subject to deterministic laws of nature.

We interact with an environment that is controlled by the same deterministic limitation, but for every situation the brain can generate infinite and unpredictable behavior. Like you are in a candy store and don't know what to choose.

Yet, if all these events were accounted for, and there were a known way to evaluate these events, the seemingly unpredictable behavior would become predictable.

But that brain that shows a readiness-potential for a movement before we consciously decide to move, does that support the idea of free will being an illusion?

Take a golf payer. His brain shows already a readiness-potential before he consciously decides to swing his club.

The club swings down, but a split second before he hits the ball, he decides to miss, because he wants to give it another try. In other words, wasn't that th use of free will to choose what to do in this situation?

About the Berkely reach:

The Discussion

[[2012/02/02 13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[2012/02/02 13:20] Bejiita Imako: but i miss sometimes yes
[2012/02/02 13:21] Bejiita Imako: but mostly i hit but i always want to hit the ball as good as possible
[2012/02/02 13:21] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): apparently they'r hooking up military airplane pilots now to act on their thots before that can even move
[2012/02/02 13:21] herman Bergson: Ok Sybyle...
[2012/02/02 13:21] Lizzy Pleides: If we don't have a free will, then we are probably dominated by elematary insincts like hunger, being cold and reproduction
[2012/02/02 13:21] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): *they
[2012/02/02 13:21] herman Bergson: Yes they do Shiva
[2012/02/02 13:21] Hokon Cazalet: why say that lizzy?
[2012/02/02 13:21] Bejiita Imako: its an interesting idea for sure this
[2012/02/02 13:21] Sybyle Perdide: if you can read in the brain reaction before they are executed it onl y tells about the relation between body and brain
[2012/02/02 13:21] Sybyle Perdide: not about consciousness and brain
[2012/02/02 13:22] herman Bergson: Yes I agree Sybyle....
[2012/02/02 13:22] herman Bergson: I am wondering about this relation myself....
[2012/02/02 13:22] Qwark Allen is Online
[2012/02/02 13:22] herman Bergson: but the brain performs already unconscious action
[2012/02/02 13:22] Mick Nerido: could the brain have many options available before "sending" signals
[2012/02/02 13:23] Lizzy Pleides: what is the reason for a decision when we don't have a free will?
[2012/02/02 13:23] Hokon Cazalet: rational calculation, higher feelings
[2012/02/02 13:23] Sybyle Perdide: hi Qwark
[2012/02/02 13:23] Bejiita Imako: hi Qwark
[[2012/02/02 13:23] Qwark Allen: Hey!
[2012/02/02 13:23] herman Bergson: Well that is the point Mick....the brain generates thousends of options in every situation....
[2012/02/02 13:23] Hokon Cazalet: my calculator has no free will, but isn't governing by any lower drive
[2012/02/02 13:24] herman Bergson: and some say that when we have picked an option we think it was based on free will
[2012/02/02 13:24] Hokon Cazalet: perhaps there isn't a psychical [mental] basis for our actions, perhaps its purely neurological
[2012/02/02 13:24] herman Bergson: No Hokon, becaue your calculator isn't conscious
[2012/02/02 13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh my
[2012/02/02 13:24] Hokon Cazalet: psychologists and philosophers, i've noticed, presume that for every psychical events, there must be another psychical thing that is the cause, but why is this so?
[2012/02/02 13:25] Hokon Cazalet: i agree herman
[2012/02/02 13:25] Sybyle Perdide: have we ever had a definition what free will means, Herman?
[2012/02/02 13:25] Hokon Cazalet: why cant the psychical be caused by the non-psychical @ lizzy
[2012/02/02 13:25] herman Bergson: in fact it is Hokon....
[2012/02/02 13:25] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): it seems to me most things are decided by will and others are aresponse to a stimulus
[2012/02/02 13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): automatic response
[2012/02/02 13:26] Mistyowl Warrhol: Our reflex actions are based on preconditioned actions from past activities. So in effect, the doing without thinking was something we conditioned ourselves to do. Does that not still make it something we wanted to do, so would that not still count as free will?
[2012/02/02 13:26] Lizzy Pleides: thats what i meant with instincts
[2012/02/02 13:26] Sybyle Perdide: nods to Gemma
[2012/02/02 13:26] Hokon Cazalet: my calculator was merely an example of a complex thing that acts without reference to "drives", perhaps human mental life has no mental basis ultimately
[2012/02/02 13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[2012/02/02 13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): reflexive
[2012/02/02 13:27] herman Bergson: The thesis here is that we are our brain....
[2012/02/02 13:27] Hokon Cazalet: instincts to me beg the question, why propose something else psychical [hunger etc], since we can ask what is their cause, and just apply ockham's razor, go to neural behavoir from the start
[2012/02/02 13:27] Hokon Cazalet: id agree herman
[2012/02/02 13:27] herman Bergson: the mind, or consciousness is a feature of the brain
[2012/02/02 13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i think to use free will we need time to think about it
[2012/02/02 13:27] Hokon Cazalet: imo there's a lot of psychology that presumes we are a spirit still
[2012/02/02 13:27] herman Bergson: like liquidity is a feature of water...
[2012/02/02 13:27] Hokon Cazalet: [mistakenly so]
[2012/02/02 13:27] herman Bergson: no water no liquidity
[2012/02/02 13:27] herman Bergson: no brain no mind
[2012/02/02 13:28] herman Bergson: The big question however is...
[2012/02/02 13:28] herman Bergson: how can a material thing like the brain generate that what we experience as our consciousness
[2012/02/02 13:29] herman Bergson: and one of the features of consciousness is th eexperience of a free will
[2012/02/02 13:29] herman Bergson: the power that shapes our life, makes us responseble for what we do
[2012/02/02 13:29] herman Bergson: the deeper layer of the free will problem is causality...
[2012/02/02 13:30] herman Bergson: every event has a the basic idea
[2012/02/02 13:30] herman Bergson: and if every event has a cause all is determined
[2012/02/02 13:31] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): :(
[2012/02/02 13:31] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): hmmm
[2012/02/02 13:31] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): :-)
[2012/02/02 13:31] herman Bergson: just think about an uncaused event.....
[2012/02/02 13:31] Hokon Cazalet: although free will needs a cause or determining principle, otherwise its random, chaotic
[2012/02/02 13:32] herman Bergson: it is just there..happens out of the blue....
[2012/02/02 13:32] herman Bergson: exactly Hokon....
[2012/02/02 13:32] herman Bergson: that is at the heart of the debate on determinism
[2012/02/02 13:32] Hokon Cazalet: yup, so there's a paradox - freedom requires a violation of causality, yet without causality freedom doesn't exist [i.e. random]
[2012/02/02 13:32] herman Bergson: right...
[2012/02/02 13:32] Mistyowl Warrhol: I guess to me this is all like the saying, you can not see the forest for the trees. Looking at just the consciousness, without all the other components involved, we are missing the full picture.
[2012/02/02 13:33] Bejiita Imako: ah
[2012/02/02 13:33] Hokon Cazalet: hmm
[2012/02/02 13:33] herman Bergson: In a next lecture I'll explain how philosophers try to solve that problen Hokon
[2012/02/02 13:33] Mick Nerido: but it could be we just rely on old habits and patterns of behavior
[2012/02/02 13:33] Hokon Cazalet: cool =) that's the one i got stuck on
[2012/02/02 13:34] herman Bergson: It is not easy....
[2012/02/02 13:34] Hokon Cazalet: hehe its had me stumped for years
[2012/02/02 13:35] herman Bergson: and this new research bring up so many new questions about the brain and consciousness...
[2012/02/02 13:35] Hokon Cazalet nods
[2012/02/02 13:35] Lizzy Pleides: not easy but exciting
[2012/02/02 13:35] herman Bergson: yes...
[2012/02/02 13:35] Hokon Cazalet: =)
[2012/02/02 13:35] herman Bergson: just imagine....
[2012/02/02 13:36] herman Bergson: there is that pattern of neurons in the brain firing when a person hears a word....
[2012/02/02 13:36] herman Bergson: that pattern enables him to say I hear the word 'house'
[2012/02/02 13:36] Mick Nerido: why the hearts it's early for Valentine Day lol
[2012/02/02 13:36] herman Bergson: so consciousness kicks in....
[2012/02/02 13:36] Hokon Cazalet: its always love a teddy bear day :√û
[2012/02/02 13:36] herman Bergson: there is a transition from that unique pattern to consciousness
[2012/02/02 13:37] herman Bergson: how does that work...
[2012/02/02 13:37] herman Bergson: from firing neurons to a conscious ness of the word 'house'?
[2012/02/02 13:38] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): theres another set of neurons firing to enable the voice to speak the word thats heard
[2012/02/02 13:38] herman Bergson: yes shiva....
[2012/02/02 13:38] Lizzy Pleides: we have more exciting words than house, giggle
[2012/02/02 13:39] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[2012/02/02 13:39] herman Bergson: that is what I meant to say with 'do we think in language'
[2012/02/02 13:39] Mistyowl Warrhol: Nooooo comment !!!!
[2012/02/02 13:39] herman Bergson: gins
[2012/02/02 13:39] herman Bergson: yes lizzy.bu tthe effect is the hear the word
[2012/02/02 13:39] Lizzy Pleides: nods
[2012/02/02 13:39] herman Bergson: What consciousness does with it is another story
[2012/02/02 13:40] druth Vlodovic: I can think in sounds and pictures as well, I thought this was investigated for education research already
[2012/02/02 13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): interesting
[2012/02/02 13:40] Hokon Cazalet: i think in feelings sometimes [to add to druth's comment]
[2012/02/02 13:40] herman Bergson: The next big question to deal with is: Is a determinist worldview compatible with the concept of free will
[2012/02/02 13:41] Mick Nerido: without a word for it, things have less meaning
[2012/02/02 13:41] druth Vlodovic: depends Mick :)
[2012/02/02 13:41] Mistyowl Warrhol: I do wish you had never mentioned "candy store", my free will was gone and all I can think of now is CHOCOLATE!!!!
[2012/02/02 13:41] herman Bergson: True Druth, indeed....
[2012/02/02 13:41] druth Vlodovic: less definition certainly
[2012/02/02 13:41] herman Bergson: How does a composer or a painter think otherwise...
[2012/02/02 13:41] herman Bergson: But other brain areas can be involved in such processes
[2012/02/02 13:42] herman Bergson: for instance the visual cortex, while a logic reasoning is situated in the prefrontal lobe
[2012/02/02 13:42] Mistyowl Warrhol: and the composer, who wrote such beautiful music, even though he was deaf?
[2012/02/02 13:43] herman Bergson: that is a very complex situation Misty
[2012/02/02 13:43] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): very
[2012/02/02 13:44] herman Bergson: can be anything....for instance extreme sentitivity for vibrations
[2012/02/02 13:44] druth Vlodovic: so maybe this is why it is harder to reason about what you see without translating it into language first, proximity to the appropriate connections/functions
[2012/02/02 13:44] herman Bergson: for those who want to know more about the berkeley reseach...
[2012/02/02 13:44] herman Bergson: you really show have a look...
[2012/02/02 13:45] herman Bergson: there are audio samples of the experiment and how the word was reconstructed
[2012/02/02 13:45] herman Bergson: FOR YOUR INFORMATiON
About the Berkely reach:
[2012/02/02 13:46] Mistyowl Warrhol: TY, saved
[2012/02/02 13:46] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[2012/02/02 13:46] herman Bergson: Extensive and well documented article...
[2012/02/02 13:46] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[2012/02/02 13:46] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[2012/02/02 13:47] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): apparently they have to rewrite the medical texts now as research has shown that the language center, per se, is not behind the ear as always thot, but near the front and in the same place as the monkeys
[2012/02/02 13:47] herman Bergson: this is just the beginning....
[2012/02/02 13:47] Mick Nerido: Thanks
[2012/02/02 13:47] Qwark Allen: that reminds me psytrance
[2012/02/02 13:47] Qwark Allen: they add some frequencies to the music, that stimulate the production of endomorphines in the brain
[2012/02/02 13:47] herman Bergson: Yes Shiva I already heard that comment too ^_^
[2012/02/02 13:47] Bejiita Imako: you mean psy trance music
[2012/02/02 13:48] Qwark Allen: yes
[2012/02/02 13:48] Bejiita Imako: hmm that might be possible indeed
[2012/02/02 13:48] Qwark Allen: that is why is so addictive music
[2012/02/02 13:48] Qwark Allen: eheheh
[2012/02/02 13:48] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): yes, that is so, qwark
[2012/02/02 13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): not to herman
[2012/02/02 13:48] Bejiita Imako: il think about that during your set now today and see if i can note such things
[2012/02/02 13:48] herman Bergson: that is very well possible Qwark....
[2012/02/02 13:48] Qwark Allen: he never heard it ^^
[2012/02/02 13:48] herman Bergson: like joggers get addicted to endorphines too
[2012/02/02 13:48] Qwark Allen: it is hermann, all true
[2012/02/02 13:48] Qwark Allen: yes
[2012/02/02 13:49] Bejiita Imako: its speedy stuff that gets me going for sure
[2012/02/02 13:49] herman Bergson: Well...plenty of questions and ideas to think about again I guess
[2012/02/02 13:49] Qwark Allen: its the beat of the heart beat of babies
[2012/02/02 13:49] Qwark Allen: 140-160 beats per minute
[2012/02/02 13:49] herman Bergson: Next lecute will be on the (in)compatobility between determinism and free will
[2012/02/02 13:50] Mistyowl Warrhol: now that is interesting Qwark.
[2012/02/02 13:50] herman Bergson: That is pure philosophy...
[2012/02/02 13:50] Qwark Allen: kind of the first sound you listen, before you born
[2012/02/02 13:50] Lizzy Pleides: great!
[2012/02/02 13:50] Bejiita Imako: i like it
[2012/02/02 13:50] Bejiita Imako: what my neighbours think i dont know
[2012/02/02 13:50] Bejiita Imako: good its welll insulated here
[2012/02/02 13:50] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[2012/02/02 13:51] herman Bergson: But how can it be that someone doesn't like that kind of music Qwark?
[2012/02/02 13:51] Mistyowl Warrhol: Qwark, first sound you hear is Mom's heart beat and the gurgling of her intestines.
[2012/02/02 13:51] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[2012/02/02 13:51] Bejiita Imako: my mom thinks psy sounds horrible
[2012/02/02 13:51] Bejiita Imako: haha
[2012/02/02 13:51] Qwark Allen: first is yours eheheh
[2012/02/02 13:51] druth Vlodovic: preconditioning maybe
[[2012/02/02 13:51] herman Bergson: to much Bach consumed Druth?
[2012/02/02 13:51] herman Bergson: Is that the cause?
[2[2012/02/02 13:52] druth Vlodovic: people develop preferences for music that makes them feel a certain way, even music that makes you feel good will be annoying if you prefer to feel a different way while listening to music
[[2012/02/02 13:52] herman Bergson: Well Qwark...I'll try an come to listen to your baby heartbeat music again ^_^
[2012/02/02 13:52] Mick Nerido: True druth
[2012/02/02 13:52] Bejiita Imako: yes
[2012/02/02 13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[2012/02/02 13:52] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[2012/02/02 13:52] Qwark Allen: thank you
[2012/02/02 13:52] Qwark Allen: :-)))
[2012/02/02 13:53] Qwark Allen: i`ll do my best
[2012/02/02 13:53] Qwark Allen: the heart rate of mom, is made by a instrument, its the snare
[2012/02/02 13:53] Bejiita Imako: for example when at work if i mount stuff and take it easy i often prefer either srtuff like this or deep house style
[2012/02/02 13:53] herman Bergson: Just let me know when you are on with it, Qwark ..I am curious
[2012/02/02 13:53] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): today
[2012/02/02 13:53] Qwark Allen: going to play some at the party right after class
[2012/02/02 13:53] Bejiita Imako: but when harder stuff like welding or grinding work i usually go for talamasca or somethinkg like that
[2012/02/02 13:53] Lizzy Pleides: please tell me too qwark
[2012/02/02 13:54] herman Bergson: cool...quick service!
[2012/02/02 13:54] herman Bergson: Time to end our discussion then....
[2012/02/02 13:54] Qwark Allen: this music talks about images, that your brain makes with the sounds
[2012/02/02 13:54] Bejiita Imako: or when training hard also go for quicker harder stuff
[2012/02/02 13:54] : llStopAnimation: Script trying to stop animations but agent not found
[2012/02/02 13:54] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your inspiring participation
[2012/02/02 13:54] Qwark Allen: when you get a bit used to it, you can see what the music talks about
[2012/02/02 13:54] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
[2012/02/02 13:54] Bejiita Imako: what suits the situation so to speak
[2012/02/02 13:54] Alexina Rene' (rene2008.zanzibar): ty!
[2012/02/02 13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[2012/02/02 13:54] Qwark Allen: it`s like to understand the fax machine
[2012/02/02 13:54] Bejiita Imako: really interesting
[2012/02/02 13:54] Bejiita Imako: thanx Herman
[2012/02/02 13:54] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): see you next thursday
[2[2012/02/02 13:55] Sybyle Perdide: thank you Herman
[2012/02/02 13:55] Qwark Allen: ty hermann, glad i arrived in time for the discussion
[2012/02/02 13:55] Qwark Allen: :-)))
[2012/02/02 13:55] Sybyle Perdide: many input again
[2012/02/02 13:55] druth Vlodovic: a lot of human behavior seems to be based on creating predictable outcomes, or fitting our mental states to the environment (or avoiding doing so)
[2012/02/02 13:55] Hokon Cazalet: ty herman =)
[2012/02/02 13:55] druth Vlodovic: thanks herman
[2012/02/02 13:55] Sybyle Perdide: or better much input
[2012/02/02 13:55] herman Bergson: My pleasure
[2012/02/02 13:55] Sybyle Perdide: cannot decide
[2012/02/02 13:55] Shiva Rhapsody in Blue (rhaptuous.aura): always an inspiration to come here, thank you, professor herman
[2012/02/02 13:55] Hokon Cazalet: its gotten me thinking about this subject again, been busy on other stuff - forgot how fun this one was =)
[2012/02/02 13:55] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, TY from me too Herman. I will have to read some of that back later
[2012/02/02 13:55] herman Bergson: you are welcome Shiva
[2012/02/02 13:56] druth Vlodovic: where are you performing qwark?
[2012/02/02 13:56] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman:)
[2012/02/02 13:56] Jareth Wirsing: bye all
[2012/02/02 13:56] Sybyle Perdide: bye Jareth
[2012/02/02 13:56] Jaelle Faerye: bye Jareth
[2012/02/02 13:57] Bejiita Imako: cu soon
[2012/02/02 13:57] Sybyle Perdide: ciao Beertje :)
[2012/02/02 13:57] Bejiita Imako: :)'
[2012/02/02 13:57] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye bye..goodnight

379: Consciousness and Free Will

The brain is a hot issue in the media like my Saturday newspaper proved again. A page long article with the headline: "spontaneous" decisions are over.

We have an intuitive belief that we have a free will. Some might argue….well, to some extend yes. It is almost the same intuitive belief that we have a mind and a body in a dualistic sense.

However, when asked a philosopher, we get another story. This dualism of mind and body is an idea only uphold by just a few anymore.

That's ok, as long as nobody starts denying that we have a mind. Let philosophers debate ontological questions here.

But our free will. That is another cup of tea.That free will is part of our identity. We shaped our personality by our free choices. Because of our free will we are morally responsible.

And here is a journalist who gets 64 electrodes attached to his skull looking at a computer screen, on which something is moving.

He gets the instruction to stop that movement by a mouse click, whenever he likes. Just spontaneous, unplanned.

What happens? Seconds before he presses the mouse button "spontaneously" there is already activity in the premotoric cortex.

The brain seems to be ahead of my spontaneous decision to press the button. It already made the decision for me?

the belief in a free will has serious consequences as has the opposite: the belief that they decide for you, that circumstances determine your present state and so on.

A research team of the university of Gent, Belgium, convinced one half of the group of test persons, that free will is an illusion

They presented them with the words of Nobel prizewinner Francis Crick:" Your feeling of personal identity and free will is nothing more than the behavior of a large group of braincells and molecules therein."

Whether Crick is right or not, in the heads of the test persons this text had a remarkable effect on the brain activity.

The brain activity in a free choice experiment was considerably less than in heads of those who hadn't read Crick's text and unconcerned believe in their free will.

Especially the unconscious process in the brain that precedes the spontaneous choice activity was 25% less in this group.

The belief or disbelief in a free will affects us, influences how we perform and act, like researchers from the University of MInnesota and University of California discovered.

Test persons had to solve 20 math problems. They could cheat, but were explicitly asked not to do so.
One half of the group was confronted with the text of Francis Crick.

The result was that in that group 60% more cheated than in the group who hadn't read the words of Francis Crick.

This defines our philosophical problem clearly: Is free will an illusion? What is the place of free will in our lives if all our actions are the result of some other cause?

Do our desires and unconscious beliefs make us less free? How do human beings assert their autonomy in a world governed by chance, cause and necessity?

You are free to show up next Thursday to hear how this story continues.

The Discussion

[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yay, very interesting
[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:24] Bibbe Oh: thank you!
[13:24] Jaelle Faerye: what a cliffhanger, Herman, LOL
[13:24] Mick Nerido: Thanks professor
[13:24] herman Bergson: if you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours
[13:24] Farv Hallison: Thank you herman
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: thank you, it was brilliant again
[13:24] Mistyowl Warrhol: Interesting theory.
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Im interested in that time-shift thing
[13:25] Mistyowl Warrhol: Do we have the free will to allow outside influence to effect how thinking?
[13:25] herman Bergson: yes Merlin that is a fascinating phenomenon.
[13:25] Mick Nerido: Have to go see u thursday
[13:25] herman Bergson: Ok Mick
[13:25] Farv Hallison: bye Mik
[13:25] Lizzy Pleides: tc mick
[13:26] Jaelle Faerye: Bye Mick
[13:26] Mistyowl Warrhol: TC Mick :-)
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Sometimes I think I had predicted something, but then wonder if my memory was false and came after the event
[13:26] herman Bergson: The general idea is that before we are conscious of our desicion the brain is already at work
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes
[13:26] herman Bergson: It came definitely after the event Merlin....
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes :)
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Do other people experience this?
[13:27] herman Bergson: the idea is that the brain makes up things....
[13:27] herman Bergson: But I have a problem with this way of thinking...
[13:28] herman Bergson: on the one hand there is the brain....
[13:28] herman Bergson: on the other hand there is consciousness
[13:28] Sybyle Perdide: but.. however you define free will.. the decision, the free will did, must come from somewhere
[13:28] herman Bergson: My point of view is that indeed the brain generates consciousness as a biological process
[13:28] Farv Hallison: I say your mind is different than consciousness....your mind made the desicion any it was displayed later on your Cartesean stage.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Well Farv...that is a little bit what I fear...
[13:29] Mistyowl Warrhol: Some people are more influenced by outside events. Some are not. What about the 40% that did not cheat?
[13:29] herman Bergson: the idea that consciousness is the audience of the brain
[13:30] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): how much time is there between the brain and action?
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Richard Dawkins says clearly that he thinks consciousness evolved
[13:30] herman Bergson: half a second certain tests
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Sorry, thats obvious
[13:30] herman Bergson: But Misty you got a point....
[13:30] Hokon Cazalet: true, if consciousness is a product of evolution [which it is], then it served some survivial value, somewhere somehow
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes thats it
[13:31] herman Bergson: research shows that when you tell people there is no free will, they become less social and moral
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Oh they DO?
[13:31] herman Bergson: yes Merlin...…
[13:31] herman Bergson: therefore I have great difficulty with this brian observations and how it is related to free will
[13:32] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): they let go of their own moral?
[13:32] Mistyowl Warrhol: If ppl have been conditioned to obey what they hear, they lose free will. Ppl who are "free thinkers" will still rely on free will.
[13:32] Jaelle Faerye: that's an interesting thing
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje....they feel less responseble for their actions...
[13:32] Jaelle Faerye: that moral thing
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I suppose Misty raises a broader issue there
[13:32] Jaelle Faerye: i read somewhere
[13:33] Farv Hallison: what does it mean to rely on free will?
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Degrees of free will
[13:33] Jaelle Faerye: that they had an "experiment" going on
[13:33] Jaelle Faerye: with people
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: doesn't it depend of intelligence and education?
[13:33] Mistyowl Warrhol: If any event is less obvious, we are more likely to let it influence us..
[13:33] herman Bergson: To rely on free will means that you have the feeling, Farv, that you make the decisions, you plot the course
[13:33] Jaelle Faerye: volunteers who were supposed to ask questions and "punish" with a power surge if the answer was wrong
[13:34] Mistyowl Warrhol: Trying to think of the word I am looking for.. duh
[13:34] Sybyle Perdide: but what is me?
[13:34] herman Bergson: The Miller experiment Jaelle....test on authority...
[13:34] Jaelle Faerye: yes
[13:34] Jaelle Faerye: and
[13:35] Jaelle Faerye: letting go of the free will
[13:35] Jaelle Faerye: since it was "required"
[13:35] herman Bergson: yes some obeyed to the extreme
[13:35] Jaelle Faerye: people abdicated their own free will
[13:35] herman Bergson: but I think that that is another story....
[13:35] Mistyowl Warrhol: There are some, who will remain anon, who rebel when told something must be a certain way :-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: it was not about free will this research but on the power of authority
[13:36] Jaelle Faerye: uh huh
[13:36] Jaelle Faerye: but
[13:36] Jaelle Faerye: accepting authority without questioning?
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes...
[13:36] Jaelle Faerye: isn't that somehow a negation of one's free will?
[13:36] Mistyowl Warrhol: Exactly
[13:36] herman Bergson: no...
[13:36] Jaelle Faerye: why?
[13:36] herman Bergson: it is the choice to leave the responsability to th eperson in charge
[13:37] Jaelle Faerye: uh huh
[13:37] Mistyowl Warrhol: yep
[13:37] Sybyle Perdide: noo
[13:37] Jaelle Faerye: i never went to army
[13:37] Sybyle Perdide: not only#
[13:37] herman Bergson: well is army style...:-)
[13:37] herman Bergson: never question your superior!
[13:37] Jaelle Faerye: yup
[13:37] Mistyowl Warrhol: and with some religions
[13:38] herman Bergson: oh yes Misty...
[13:38] herman Bergson: never question Mohammed
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): ooh careful!
[13:38] herman Bergson: grins...
[13:38] herman Bergson: yeah Merlin..
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[13:39] Mistyowl Warrhol: LOL but that is not about true religion, but ppl who use religion for power and that is a whole new issue.
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well...I think you will be surprised when we really dig into th efree will issue philosophically...
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I look forward to it
[13:40] Jaelle Faerye: me too
[13:40] Mistyowl Warrhol: There will always be ppl who believe only they are right and want to take free will away.
[13:40] herman Bergson: To be honest is amazing in fact....
[13:41] herman Bergson: Then...may I thank you all again for your participation....
[13:41] Jaelle Faerye: Thank YOU, Herman
[13:41] Sybyle Perdide: merci Herman
[13:41] herman Bergson: unless you still have a question or remark left
[13:41] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, thank YOU
[13:41] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you professor
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: thanks to YOU Herman
[13:41] Mistyowl Warrhol: Nice discussion.. much to think about. ty :-)
[13:41] Bibbe Oh: Food for thought!
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.. ^_^
[13:42] Hokon Cazalet: =)
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): He he
[13:43] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): Goodnight everybody
[13:43] Lizzy Pleides: nini Beertje
[13:43] herman Bergson: I am sorry Lizzy about my report on what I saw
[13:43] Farv Hallison: goodnight beer
[13:43] Jaelle Faerye: Night Beerje

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