Thursday, August 30, 2007

To post or not to post ...

... can that be the question? I Am Pretty Sure I Freely Decided to Write This Post, Bryan declares.

Bryan links to this also, but I want to make sure you don't miss it: Angels and Quanta.

Classical physics describes a universe which is predetermined by its initial conditions. If every event is absolutely determined by its preceding causes then everything that happens – including me writing this and you reading it – is inevitable and our free will is no more than a useful illusion. The future has already happened.
In other words, if there is only cause, there is no motivation. In practice, no one believes that, including those who preach determinism
I think it is important to remind everyone, as was pointed on what this post linked to, that "Libet himself was not a materialist at all. Apparently, he thought consciousness was not an epiphenomenon and might even survive brain death."


  1. Without understanding all the medical science involved, I can't make an informed guess, but it seems to me that the entire hypothesis is somewhat backwards.

    If he'd been directly stimulating the brain, isn't he effectively measuring how long it takes the brain to communicate to the finger (or where ever) to communicate with the brain to move? I think of direct brain stimulation as a kind of brain injury. Our physiology is a complex machine.

    Take the supposition that the brain 'decided' to move a finger before we consciously decided to - and this kind of thing happens a lot with palsies, etc, then the movement is uncontrolled. Now assume that our conscious choices are a build up of subconscious analysis and reason BEFORE the physical machinery...then what? Wouldn't our brains be busy ticking over all its information before we said "hey! my foot itches, I better scratch it."

  2. All points well taken, Charlene. I also think that any explanation of an experience that explaisn the experience away is dubious, however scientific it may be. Like Dr. Johnson, I think that experience trumps all theories.