death of the mind.

Peter F. effectivespamblock at
Sat Jul 17 04:20:37 EST 2004

"Wolf Kirchmeir" <wwolfkir at> wrote in message
news:LRHJc.26579$TB3.1062365 at
> Allan C Cybulskie wrote:
> ...snip...
> >
> > However, there is a way around this problem, which is to say that the
> > deliberation does, in fact, determine the action, but that the action
> > the conscious recognition of the action both are the result of a brain
> > (or an event) that is the outcome of the deliberation itself.  In short,
> > deliberation -- when it reaches its conclusion -- kicks off a brain
> > that both instigates the action, and the conscious recognition of it.
> > it is obvious that these don't have to occur together, since we can make
> > "delayed decisions", where we decide what to do at a future time, and
> > do it.
> This explanation is concocted merely to save an a priori assumption,
> namely that deliberations precede actions. Trying to save an a priori
> assumption is not wrong in and of itself, if that assumption is itself
> the result of some viable theory. This sort of thing has been done many
> times in scientific theory building, and continues to be done. But there
> has to be some way of verifying that the posited phenomenon that saves
> the assmption actually occurs. I see some difficulties here, chief of
> which is that we don't know (yet?) how to recognise that deliberating is
> going on, apart from the subject's own reports - and it's the timing of
> those reports that have led to the discovery that activation precedes
> conscious decision to act.
> It's possible to determine that a brain/person/animal is "thinking of X"
> by picking up electrical activity in the brain, using that signal to
> trigger an external device, and training the brain/person/animal to
> trigger that device by "thinking of X." That experiment has been done,
> and works - but there is no obvious way to determine that signals of a
> particular pattern constitute "thinking" - whatever "thinking" may be.
> The experiments I'm alluding to don't even demonstrate that thinking
> must be conscious.

Thinking (not just cognitive-level conscious awareness but active
imagination at the same level) has this far proven itself to be ON THE WHOLE
adaptive in that it provides BOTH a safe preoccupation (focus of actention)
that delays or prevents futile or hopeless overt behaviour by the individual
by simulating such-like future self-affecting events and self-involving
interactions, AND in that it simulates, and prepares for (including by
auto-generating positive feelings, emotions and optimistic attitudes),
future successful actions that promote the individual's personal _and_ (of
course) reproductive/genetic survival.

No wonder then, that evolution has not bothered to make us capable of easily
(or at all) resolving the gap between 'a certain content of consciousness'
and being conscious of the existence (or not) of such a gap.


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