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Could our actions be decided by our conscious mind?

 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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23 December 2018 11:39
 

Thank you to discuss the following argument, its two premises and its validity.

Premise 1 - For all we know, somebody’s conscious mind may be the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain;
Premise 2 - What somebody does is determined by the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain;
Conclusion - Therefore, for all we know, what somebody does may be determined by the conscious mind of this person.
EB

Thank you to restrict yourself to facts and logic.
EB

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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23 December 2018 11:44
 
Speakpigeon - 23 December 2018 11:39 AM

Thank you to discuss the following argument, its two premises and its validity.

Premise 1 - For all we know, somebody’s conscious mind may be the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain;
Premise 2 - What somebody does is determined by the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain;
Conclusion - Therefore, for all we know, what somebody does may be determined by the conscious mind of this person.
EB

Thank you to restrict yourself to facts and logic.
EB

So far, I would only suggest that mind is one of those words that gets used in a variety of ways. Plus, mind is about as abstract a word as words get. But you seem to have enough qualifying terms, such as “for all we know” for your conclusion to be valid.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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23 December 2018 11:46
 

That is all we know, so unless you are looking to argue about what we don’t know and/or add magic, that’s it.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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23 December 2018 12:19
 

So?

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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23 December 2018 14:46
 

I’m not versed in propositional logic but I suspect an equivocation in the usage of Determined. Can you provide a definition for how you are using the word here?

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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23 December 2018 20:11
 
Speakpigeon - 23 December 2018 11:39 AM

Thank you to discuss the following argument, its two premises and its validity.

Premise 1 - For all we know, somebody’s conscious mind may be the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain;

Thank you to restrict yourself to facts and logic.
EB

What determines the state of the group of neurons in this person’s brain?

 
 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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24 December 2018 03:30
 
Brick Bungalow - 23 December 2018 02:46 PM

I’m not versed in propositional logic but I suspect an equivocation in the usage of Determined. Can you provide a definition for how you are using the word here?

???
I’m using the word as is pretty much obvious that I am using it.

Determine
4. to cause, affect, or control; fix or decide causally: Demand usually determines supply.

Are you similarly suspicious about the notion of a deterministic universe?
EB

 
Speakpigeon
 
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24 December 2018 03:42
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 23 December 2018 08:11 PM
Speakpigeon - 23 December 2018 11:39 AM

Thank you to discuss the following argument, its two premises and its validity.

Premise 1 - For all we know, somebody’s conscious mind may be the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain;

Thank you to restrict yourself to facts and logic.
EB

What determines the state of the group of neurons in this person’s brain?

Good point.
For all we know, the most significant cause should be the prior state of the same group of neurons, then the prior state of another group of neurons in the same brain, etc. Essentially, we only have access consciously to data coming from other parts of our brain, most of them seemingly non-conscious. Memory, visual information, auditory information, logical intuitions, data about the state of our body, etc. This is the point about our brain being a cognitive system. All our brain can determine to do is determined by the brain processing data which are already inside the brain, most of it in seemingly unconscious parts of the brain. This at least based on whatever we can reasonably assume we know.
EB

[ Edited: 24 December 2018 03:44 by Speakpigeon]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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24 December 2018 08:34
 

Maybe this whole discussion hinges on whether there is true randomness in the universe? If so, I’d say that we’re leaning towards thinking that there is true randomness, but we’re not sure yet.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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24 December 2018 09:09
 
Speakpigeon - 24 December 2018 03:30 AM
Brick Bungalow - 23 December 2018 02:46 PM

I’m not versed in propositional logic but I suspect an equivocation in the usage of Determined. Can you provide a definition for how you are using the word here?

???
I’m using the word as is pretty much obvious that I am using it.

Determine
4. to cause, affect, or control; fix or decide causally: Demand usually determines supply.

Are you similarly suspicious about the notion of a deterministic universe?
EB

That’s a red flag for me truthfully. Citing the ‘obvious’ in reference to usage when presenting something as a formula… my professors would call me out on that every time.

It’s not obvious because there are at least two connotations in play. ‘Determined’ in the mechanical sense is different than ‘determined’ in the cognitive sense. This is true for common usage and its also true in practical terms. I may have determined or be determined to pass the bar exam. This does not translate to any specific outcome. On the other hand a billiard ball may be determined to reflect off of a bumper into a pocket by virtue of vector and velocity. It has no subjectivity that we know of. It simply behaves according to physical laws.

The cognitive sense is important because you are specifically referencing consciousness. I think our minds have the ability to represent future events in an imaginative space and then make those events tangible. In that sense actions are determined by consciousness… or determination if you like.

It’s the same with the word ‘decided’. This could be strictly mechanical or it could be cognitive and the difference isn’t trivial. We can measure the reliability of intention versus the reliability of mechanical actions.

I’m not trying to be deliberately argumentative. I do think this distinction is important. I don’t comprehend the content of your question without it.

 
Speakpigeon
 
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24 December 2018 10:31
 
Brick Bungalow - 24 December 2018 09:09 AM
Speakpigeon - 24 December 2018 03:30 AM
Brick Bungalow - 23 December 2018 02:46 PM

I’m not versed in propositional logic but I suspect an equivocation in the usage of Determined. Can you provide a definition for how you are using the word here?

???
I’m using the word as is pretty much obvious that I am using it.

Determine
4. to cause, affect, or control; fix or decide causally: Demand usually determines supply.

Are you similarly suspicious about the notion of a deterministic universe?
EB

That’s a red flag for me truthfully. Citing the ‘obvious’ in reference to usage when presenting something as a formula… my professors would call me out on that every time.

It’s not obvious because there are at least two connotations in play. ‘Determined’ in the mechanical sense is different than ‘determined’ in the cognitive sense. This is true for common usage and its also true in practical terms. I may have determined or be determined to pass the bar exam. This does not translate to any specific outcome. On the other hand a billiard ball may be determined to reflect off of a bumper into a pocket by virtue of vector and velocity. It has no subjectivity that we know of. It simply behaves according to physical laws.

The cognitive sense is important because you are specifically referencing consciousness. I think our minds have the ability to represent future events in an imaginative space and then make those events tangible. In that sense actions are determined by consciousness… or determination if you like.

It’s the same with the word ‘decided’. This could be strictly mechanical or it could be cognitive and the difference isn’t trivial. We can measure the reliability of intention versus the reliability of mechanical actions.

I’m not trying to be deliberately argumentative. I do think this distinction is important. I don’t comprehend the content of your question without it.

Sorry, I don’t buy that.
The phrase I used, “determined by the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain”, leaves absolutely no room for ambiguity. Or else, nothing is ever unambiguous enough for any sort of rational conversation.
EB

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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24 December 2018 10:39
 

SP:

Sorry, I don’t buy that.
The phrase I used, “determined by the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain”, leaves absolutely no room for ambiguity. Or else, nothing is ever unambiguous enough for any sort of rational conversation.
EB

At the very least, it would be useful if you answered a few questions that have been posed and so far unanswered:

- Does your argument depend on the existence (or non-existence), of true randomness?
- Are you implying a completely deterministic universe?

If you’re not assuming a completely deterministic universe, then you must address brick’s point about the mind’s ability to envision the future and - to some degree - manifest what’s been envisioned.

 
 
GAD
 
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24 December 2018 10:51
 

As usual this topic goes straight to arguing about definitions, which is really about justifying the “we don’t know everything” argument which is the intellectual version of “god of the gaps”, which then leaves the topic open for any pet theory, view or speculation, which typically go against the common knowledge of science and toward magic.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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24 December 2018 13:04
 

Good luck then.

 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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25 December 2018 05:59
 
icehorse - 24 December 2018 10:39 AM

SP:

Sorry, I don’t buy that.
The phrase I used, “determined by the state of a group of neurons in this person’s brain”, leaves absolutely no room for ambiguity. Or else, nothing is ever unambiguous enough for any sort of rational conversation.
EB

At the very least, it would be useful if you answered a few questions that have been posed and so far unanswered:

- Does your argument depend on the existence (or non-existence), of true randomness?

Answer this first:

You think the validity of the following logical truth depends on the existence or non-existence of “true randomness”?

(A => (A => B) ) => B

icehorse - 24 December 2018 10:39 AM

- Are you implying a completely deterministic universe?

Explain how that could possibly affect the validity of (A => (A => B) ) => B.

icehorse - 24 December 2018 10:39 AM

If you’re not assuming a completely deterministic universe, then you must address brick’s point about the mind’s ability to envision the future and - to some degree - manifest what’s been envisioned.

To the same extent as for (A => (A => B) ) => B.

What I make of the argument is also irrelevant here. It’s for you to decide what you think is wrong with it and then explain this to all of us.

You have two avenues. You could try to show that the premises are somehow false. Or you could try to show that the premises somehow don’t entail the conclusion.

Good luck.
EB

 

[ Edited: 25 December 2018 06:08 by Speakpigeon]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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25 December 2018 08:01
 

SP,

You’ll have to express your logical truth formulas without using special characters. Special characters are not rendered consistently across all browsers or by all websites. I can tell you that your symbols looked different in my email than they do on the website.

Second, even when you’ve made your formulas parse-able, you’re gonna need to connect some dots, and explain how the formula is relevant to the question of randomness.

thanks

 
 
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