re- the homunculus

telford at telford at
Thu Dec 31 19:21:46 EST 1998

In Ray Scanlon <rscanlon at> wrote:

> >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.

I fail to see the part of [1-4] that is von Neumann specific...

> 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
> hesitation.

I would argue that if a bus if hurtling toward you then the time available
for hesitation is related to velocity and distance.

> 2. Molecules announce their presence at all times.

This seems compatible with 2 above, there are different ways to
perform the same calculation and different ways to explain the same

> 3. The synaptic area present on each neuron as a result of past experience
> plays its relative part in the excitement of that neuron.

Thus it contains information, which in turn influences the
result of the calculation (i.e. drawing from past experience).

> 4. Each individual neuron works at all times as a living cell.

In as much as it requires sugar and oxygen to function, this is
true but do these factors affect the result and why and how?

As for stuff on free-will <shrug>...

	- Tel

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list