Questions on the Nature of memory, personality, etc.

David Longley David at longley.demon.co.uk
Tue May 25 11:55:18 EST 2004


In article <43525ce3.0405250832.4969a0ec at posting.google.com>, mat 
<mats_trash at hotmail.com> writes
>qquito at hotmail.com (Quito Quito) wrote in message 
>news:<98d60386.0405130954.4d2ef583 at posting.google.com>...
>> Hi, Robert:
>>
>> Does modern neuroscience accept the notion of "free will" as believed
>> by Christians?
>>
>> I feel that a human being is just like a computer, only more complex.
>> A human being does not have any "will", and all actions it takes is a
>> result of passive reactions to external stimulations. A word or an
>> idea you hear from a psychological therapist is just a stimulation.
>>
>> Roland
>>
>
>The onus is not to prove the case but have those who believe in 'free
>will' actually define it in such a way that is substantively different
>from what you are proposing - i.e. what is it to be free?  I mean I
>can perform a completely random action which may be 'inexplicable' to
>observers but it does have a cause - my motivation to do so.  This is
>further a consequence of prior experience and environmental influence
>ad infinitum.  I don't see that free will is even a sound notion, no
>matter an alternative hypothesis.  If we are so free that we can act
>without any precipitating cause then the action is nothing more than
>random!

I reckon anyone prepared to think this through seriously should read 
Skinner's "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" (1971), but before reading page 
one, they should chant ten times that "operants are actions on the 
environment which are changed by their consequences. The study of 
operant behaviour and its conditioning, is the study of what we used to 
called 'intention' or 'purpose'" <g>.
-- 
David Longley
http://www.longley.demon.co.uk/Frag.htm




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