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Could our actions be decided by our conscious mind?

 
burt
 
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burt
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25 December 2018 09:59
 
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

This is phrased in syllogistic form, but it is not a syllogism. Bracketing out the equivocal “for all we know” and the “may” in the presumptive major premise, it can be rephrased as:

1. A group of neurons in a persons brain determines that persons conscious mind.
2. Behavioral actions of a person are determined by a group of neurons in the brain.
Therefore: the conscious mind determines behavioral actions.

This has the formal structure:
A—> B (group of neurons determines conscious mind)
A—> C (group of neurons determines behavioral actions)
Therefore B—> C

The fallacy of this is clear if one draws a Venn diagram. There is no guarantee that it’s the same group of neurons, and even if that assumption is included, as in:

1. A group of neurons A in a persons brain determines their conscious mind.
2. That same group of neurons A determines a persons behavioral actions.

There is still no syllogistic implication.

Regarding Brick’s question about the use of the word “determines,” this could be taken as logical identity in which case:

1. B = A
2. C = A
Therefore B = C

Which remains a fallacy of the form

The sunset is red
A rose is red
Therefore the sunset is a rose.

Poetic, but not logic.

 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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25 December 2018 12:35
 
burt - 25 December 2018 09:59 AM
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


This is phrased in syllogistic form, but it is not a syllogism. Bracketing out the equivocal “for all we know” and the “may” in the presumptive major premise, it can be rephrased as:
1. A group of neurons in a persons brain determines that persons conscious mind.
2. Behavioral actions of a person are determined by a group of neurons in the brain.
Therefore: the conscious mind determines behavioral actions.
This has the formal structure:
A—> B (group of neurons determines conscious mind)
A—> C (group of neurons determines behavioral actions)
Therefore B—> C
The fallacy of this is clear if one draws a Venn diagram. There is no guarantee that it’s the same group of neurons, and even if that assumption is included, as in:
1. A group of neurons A in a persons brain determines their conscious mind.
2. That same group of neurons A determines a persons behavioral actions.
There is still no syllogistic implication.
Regarding Brick’s question about the use of the word “determines,” this could be taken as logical identity in which case:
1. B = A
2. C = A
Therefore B = C
Which remains a fallacy of the form
The sunset is red
A rose is red
Therefore the sunset is a rose.
Poetic, but not logic.

You post reminds me of the Stalinist trials of opponents in the Soviet Union not so long ago. You start by rephrasing my argument out of recognition and then sentence me to the Goulag on the basis that the rephrased argument shows I am a capitalist stooge. This is just gross and insulting to the intelligence of all posters here.
In effect, all that you’ve shown is that your own argument is a fallacy. And I agree.
If you were serious, you would try to criticise my argument as I posted it.
I would agree it would be a much more difficult and laborious task.
EB

 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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26 December 2018 08:17
 

Since previous comments have all been derails except the one from Antisocialdarwinist (#5) and the one from GAD (#2), I put the OP here again, for those who may be interested in discussing it:

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

Thank you to remember you can’t change anything to the argument. If you want to criticise it at all, you have to criticise it as it stands. No rephrasing and no rewording. If you can’t do that, be my guest but please abstain from making otherwise irrelevant comments. If you don’t like some aspect of it, explain what it is you don’t like and why it would be a problem in your view but I will only try to respond to that if you have identified what you think would be a problem with the logic of it.
Thanks.
EB

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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26 December 2018 08:30
 

Fair enough. And I will repeat (and further delimit) a question I have in order to understand your claims:

Do you believe that there is true randomness in the universe?

And please answer without using special characters. And if you use formulas, please explain them. I edit technical books. I have seen numerous formulaic conventions, and I can tell you that many of them are not as universal as authors think they are. So it’s not on us to decipher your potentially-unconventional symbols. It’s on you to communicate your formulas clearly. (When giving feedback to programming authors we often tell them to use pseudo-code. If that makes sense to you, you could take a pseudo-code approach to clearly defining your formulas.)

thanks

 
 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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26 December 2018 12:10
 
icehorse - 26 December 2018 08:30 AM

Fair enough. And I will repeat (and further delimit) a question I have in order to understand your claims:

What claims? I only presented an argument and explicitly asked people to limit themselves to facts and logic.

icehorse - 26 December 2018 08:30 AM

Do you believe that there is true randomness in the universe?

You’ll have to explain first how the existence of true randomness could affect in your view the validity of my argument, assuming that’s what you have in mind.
Also, I shouldn’t have to ask. If you’re not motivated to explain your point, don’t expect me to second-guess what you have in mind.

icehorse - 26 December 2018 08:30 AM

And please answer without using special characters. And if you use formulas, please explain them. I edit technical books. I have seen numerous formulaic conventions, and I can tell you that many of them are not as universal as authors think they are. So it’s not on us to decipher your potentially-unconventional symbols.

I couldn’t input the more usual symbols. However, those I used are the ones used by most people when they can’t use those found in books. I guess, that wouldn’t help, either way, but they are not “unconventional”.

icehorse - 26 December 2018 08:30 AM

It’s on you to communicate your formulas clearly. (When giving feedback to programming authors we often tell them to use pseudo-code. If that makes sense to you, you could take a pseudo-code approach to clearly defining your formulas.)

I wish you had noticed I formulated the argument itself in plain English.
You like clarity. Then explain clearly how true randomness could affect my argument.
EB

 

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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26 December 2018 12:15
 

sp:

What claims? I only presented an argument and explicitly asked people to limit themselves to facts and logic.

As I have mentioned several times, I find your argument to be lacking in at least the crucial detail of randomness. I’m not interested in playing a guessing game with you, so I’m not going to explain to you why I want you to answer the randomness question. My answer will vary, depending on your answer.

 
 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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26 December 2018 12:54
 
icehorse - 26 December 2018 12:15 PM

sp:

What claims? I only presented an argument and explicitly asked people to limit themselves to facts and logic.

As I have mentioned several times, I find your argument to be lacking in at least the crucial detail of randomness. I’m not interested in playing a guessing game with you, so I’m not going to explain to you why I want you to answer the randomness question. My answer will vary, depending on your answer.

The argument is as it is. There’s no mention of randomness, true or otherwise. So your question about randomness is a derail unless you can motivate your asking it. If you don’t feel like explaining your point, be my guest.
EB

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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26 December 2018 13:10
 
Speakpigeon - 26 December 2018 12:54 PM
icehorse - 26 December 2018 12:15 PM

sp:

What claims? I only presented an argument and explicitly asked people to limit themselves to facts and logic.

As I have mentioned several times, I find your argument to be lacking in at least the crucial detail of randomness. I’m not interested in playing a guessing game with you, so I’m not going to explain to you why I want you to answer the randomness question. My answer will vary, depending on your answer.

The argument is as it is. There’s no mention of randomness, true or otherwise. So your question about randomness is a derail unless you can motivate your asking it. If you don’t feel like explaining your point, be my guest.
EB

Earlier you said:

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.

My answer is: It depends on whether you believe that true randomness exists.

 
 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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26 December 2018 13:21
 
icehorse - 26 December 2018 01:10 PM
Speakpigeon - 26 December 2018 12:54 PM
icehorse - 26 December 2018 12:15 PM

sp:

What claims? I only presented an argument and explicitly asked people to limit themselves to facts and logic.

As I have mentioned several times, I find your argument to be lacking in at least the crucial detail of randomness. I’m not interested in playing a guessing game with you, so I’m not going to explain to you why I want you to answer the randomness question. My answer will vary, depending on your answer.

The argument is as it is. There’s no mention of randomness, true or otherwise. So your question about randomness is a derail unless you can motivate your asking it. If you don’t feel like explaining your point, be my guest.
EB

Earlier you said:

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.

My answer is: It depends on whether you believe that true randomness exists.

We’re done, then.
EB

 
burt
 
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burt
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26 December 2018 18:57
 
icehorse - 26 December 2018 01:10 PM
Speakpigeon - 26 December 2018 12:54 PM
icehorse - 26 December 2018 12:15 PM

sp:

What claims? I only presented an argument and explicitly asked people to limit themselves to facts and logic.

As I have mentioned several times, I find your argument to be lacking in at least the crucial detail of randomness. I’m not interested in playing a guessing game with you, so I’m not going to explain to you why I want you to answer the randomness question. My answer will vary, depending on your answer.

The argument is as it is. There’s no mention of randomness, true or otherwise. So your question about randomness is a derail unless you can motivate your asking it. If you don’t feel like explaining your point, be my guest.
EB

Earlier you said:

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.

My answer is: It depends on whether you believe that true randomness exists.

Ice, you see, this guy isn’t worth engaging. My guess is he’s a college sophomore with a minor in philosophy and he’s trolling to get stuff to put in a term paper. Sad.

[ Edited: 26 December 2018 22:28 by burt]
 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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27 December 2018 08:07
 

he’s a college sophomore with a minor in philosophy and he’s trolling to get stuff to put in a term paper.

Nah. It was just to get on Google:

Search Results
Web results
Sam Harris.org Reader Forum | Could our actions be decided by our ...
https://forum.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/71488/
4 days ago - 3 posts - ?3 authors
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 ...

Good job, lads.

Plaisanterie apart, I’m still open for business, for those who are capable and motivated to articulate their views.
EB

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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27 December 2018 10:15
 
Speakpigeon - 27 December 2018 08:07 AM

for those who are capable and motivated to articulate their views.
EB

With such a kindly and glowing invitation, why would one ever consider not participating?

 
 
Speakpigeon
 
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Speakpigeon
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27 December 2018 10:25
 
Jefe - 27 December 2018 10:15 AM
Speakpigeon - 27 December 2018 08:07 AM

for those who are capable and motivated to articulate their views.
EB

With such a kindly and glowing invitation, why would one ever consider not participating?

Well, if you’re not capable or don’t feel motivated, it’s just as well you abstain. But if you’re capable and feel motivated, no amount of rudeness from me will stop you.
EB

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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27 December 2018 11:28
 
Jefe - 27 December 2018 10:15 AM
Speakpigeon - 27 December 2018 08:07 AM

for those who are capable and motivated to articulate their views.
EB

With such a kindly and glowing invitation, why would one ever consider not participating?

Not the most social thread for sure, but what we do know is that for all we know the mind is the state of neurons in the brain, that is what all evidence we have points to and there is no evidence for anything else. Randomness doesn’t change that, and no, there is no actual evidence for quantum anything.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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27 December 2018 12:54
 
burt - 26 December 2018 06:57 PM

  this guy isn’t worth engaging. My guess is he’s a college sophomore with a minor in philosophy and he’s trolling to get stuff to put in a term paper. Sad.

His profile suggests otherwise. ‘Tis but a click away.

 
 
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