re- the homunculus

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at
Sat Dec 26 20:59:42 EST 1998

TONYJEFFS wrote in message <19981224080408.25315.00000363 at>...
>In article <rawheatley-2112981825120001 at>,
>rawheatley at (Dr. Alan Wheatley) writes:
>>  However, I can infer from my experience of
>>making choices that I have a free will, though the inference carries a
>>high degree of uncertainty.
>We make choices, but the equation will balance even if we dont incorporate
>a factor called 'free will'.  The 'free will' is unnecessary and therefore
>Any choice we make is derived from a systematic treatment of :
>1. time available to complete the calculation
>2. Data on hormone levels, alertness levels etc.
>3. Information drawn from past experiences.
>4. Processing power and individual wiring of the brain in question.

This is the view of a programmer coding  a von Neuman computer to simulate a
neural net.

As an alternative:

1. The relative strength of the axonal signals from the brain stem to the
reticular nucleus of the thalamus determines the time available for
2. Molecules announce their presence at all times.
3. The synaptic area present on each neuron as a result of past experience
plays its relative part in the excitement of that neuron.
4. Each individual neuron works at all times as a living cell.

>We always choose what according to the resources and data we have
> available,
>Every choice has a logical (often imperfectly logical) basis.

When the reticular nucleus of the thalamus is inhibited, the motor program
proceeds through the ventral anterior-ventral lateral nucleus to the motor
cortex and action ensues.

I see no evidence of free will in any human or computer behaviour.

I agree as long as we restrict ourselves to the material universe. If we
turn to soul we will come us against free will.

Those interested in how the brain works might look at

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