Really?Jim B. wrote:When you wrote that you have yet to see a convincing argument for the irreducibility of consciousness, I assumed that you'd have some familiarity with the arguments. Silly me.
When you said "There are good arguments against the supervenience of consciousness..." a few posts ago, but could not be bothered to actually cite one I assumed you did NOT have any familiarity with the arguments, and I was not about to research them for you.
So yes, silly you.
So why do you make choices if not from the sum of prior causes? Can you give an example? Think back over the last day, and give an example of a decision, significant or trivial, that you made for no reason, and then tell us why you made it.How's that different from what I was saying? The "sum" of numerous contributions necessitates that the billiard ball moves in a certain way. My argument is that it's at least plausible that there's no "summing" up that bypasses my decision, my agency, at least in some decisions. I may act out of a compulsion, post-hypnotic suggestion or due to a brain chip -- for there to be a REAL difference between these 3 cases and my deciding due to reasons I've consciously and intentionally deliberated about, we need something more than a "summing" up of prior causes. It may be that something emerges, a conscious, intentional self, that can initiate causal chains and not just discharge already existing causal chains.
Please note, I am not saying you do not have intention; you clearly do. However, they are reasons for all your intentions. And of course you deliberate, that is the decision making process and is central to what I am saying.
When you take your time to make a decision, the decision making process becomes part of the prior states. If you were trying to decide yesterday, and are still undecided, then right now your prior state includes a full day of trying to decide, plus whatever extra influences you had over that time.But that's not the way deliberation happens. When I'm considering what to do, if I'm in a dilemma, I'm not passively waiting to see how my prior mental state "tallies up" into a decision. That would be the conception of the self as a very complex device. When I'm faced with a dilemma, it's often accompanied by anxiety before and regret or satisfaction after. The active, existential aspect of decisions is entirely missed in this mechanistic view.
Your anxiety, regret and satisfaction are because you can envisage a future in which you made a certain decision and can project good and bad outcomes - and these projections will influence your decision too of course.
What does that even mean? If your mental state did NOT necessitate the outcome, then that would mean you had no choice.But if my mental state necessitated the outcome, then I didn't really have a choice after all, only the subjective sense that I did. What would be the adaptive advantage of this subjective sense? Or for consciousness itself, for that matter?
The difference is that running someone over with your car through no fault of your own was NOT necessitated by your mental state, whilst deliberately doing so was.So you don't think there's any real differnce between me accidentally running someone over with my car through no fault of my own and my intentionally running someone down? You think that difference is just a social construct? Even social constructs track something real. In this case, I assume you think the 'something real' is better outcomes for society, ie prudentialism. But other cases of prudentialism we can 'step outside of' to temporarily suspend our engagement with it even when we're in the midst of it. Why is it so hard, I would say impossible, to truly 'step outside' of this attitude when we're in the midst of it?
Okay, my bad.Sure I am. There are numerous causes acting on me all the time. The billiard ball's movement resulted from innumerable causes. What I'm saying is that in some cases, I am the cause of my actions.
And yet the only known instances of consciousness occur in very specific physical locations with just the right environment (i.e., the brain), and when the circumstances change, consciousness is obliged to change too. When the brain moves, the attached consciousness does too. When the brain is subjected to alcohol, consciousness is affected too. All the evidence points to consciousness supervening of the physical. Same for self.Consciousness is unique and doesn't seem reducible to physical facts alone. Same for the self.
Why did you even mention Aristotle? I assumed it was because you believed he gave your argument authority. It only does that if you are using the same argument as him (and frankly, not much even then, in my opinion).He said that final causation is the purpose for which something is created or exists. I create my actions for certain purposes. I was distinguishing between intrinsic purpose, like my actions, and extrinsic purposes, like a hammer. I'm not sure if Aristotle went into this distinction. Why would it matter? Final cause itself is still an Aristotelean idea. Ideas can change somewhat over the millennia!
I am arguing that the billiard balls and the table are the decision-making process (and medium). On one level, this is just billions of balls moving around a hyper-complex table, but on a higher level, this is a decision-making process.I am the paart that decides which of the billions of possible outcomes I will execute, at least in some cases. ...
Not sure what your point is here. It is me who is arguing for the possibility that something radical emerged.... Why is it so hard to entertain the possibility that something radically new can emerge within nature? The conscious emerging from the non-conscious wold already be a pretty radical emergence.
So you do not think a spider's brain can process events around it, and then cause the spider to act in an appropriate way? How do you think spiders survive?No, I'm saying the self can initiate causal chains.Do you think the brain of a spider has causal powers? I think so. I think a spider's brain can process events around it, and then cause the spider to act in an appropriate way. I do not see this as radical as you seem to.