[Neuroscience] Re: Brain and awarness

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 1 15:37:42 EST 2006

<feedbackdroids at yahoo.com> wrote in message 
news:1143915095.440995.89820 at z34g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> Glen M. Sizemore wrote:
>> <feedbackdroids at yahoo.com> wrote in message
>> news:1143818658.126451.40440 at u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com...
>> >
>> > Glen M. Sizemore wrote:
>> >> <feedbackdroids at yahoo.com> wrote in message
>> >> news:1143755256.942084.120790 at e56g2000cwe.googlegroups.com...
>> >> >
>> >> >> That is, we respond to the world, and our physiology mediates that
>> >> >> function.
>> >> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >
>> >> > As I said .... if(darkening), then(move flagellum)
>> >>
>> >> Oh - is that what the protozoan's protozounculus says?
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>> > Oh wow. You can't even recognize a protozoan behaviorist reflex arc.
>> The reflex-arc is a physiological notion but, as far as I know, 
>> behaviorists
>> have no problem with it. The behaviorist definition of a reflex involves 
>> an
>> observed correlation between a class of stimuli and a class of responses.
>> >
>> > You will note I said IF(darkening). not IF(darkening perceived) ...
>> Not a very good description of a reflex arc - there are no words in 
>> there.
>> >
>> > The former obviously indicates that responsibility inheres to the
>> > environment, the latter [which, to re-iterate, I did not use] refers
>> > to action taken by the protozunculus [corrected spelling].
>> Ah yes - your beef with determinism. I haven't heard a cogent argument 
>> from
>> you on this issue. It may be that there are truly random elements in the
>> behavior of animals, but that doesn't mean that there is free-will. Does 
>> it
>> Dan? Oh, and I hope you are not implying that the model of behavior for
>> modern behaviorism is the reflex. In any event, Dan, my original point 
>> was
>> that your description of the hitter's behavior says nothing more than 
>> that
>> his behavior is partly under stimulus control of the pitcher's motion and
>> that physiology somehow mediates that function. I hope that you weren't 
>> also
>> saying that it is his brain that predicts the trajectory - that is like
>> saying that lower-level processes are the same as the higher-level 
>> processes
>> of which the lower are supposed to be a reduction. I guess it is 
>> possible,
>> but that would be unprecedented in the history of science. That is sort 
>> of a
>> charitable view. Anyway, though, I look forward to your explanation of 
>> why
>> (human) behavior should not be viewed with the same deterministic 
>> attitude
>> that characterizes the rest of science.
> As I am interested in engineering problems [mechanical and biological]
> and not with philosophical issues, the issue of determinism and free
> will are completely irrelevent to me.

Oh, really? How many aspects of the mechanical and biological explanations 
that you entertain are not deterministic in the broad sense? That is, in 
ways that exclude free-will as a creative "force" (and possibly include 
stochasticity)? None? That is what I thought.  Then, of course, there's your 
criticism of Skinner that is comprised of the one paragraph that you seem to 
have read - something about all responsibility inheres to the environment? 
Perhaps your problem is that such a description doesn't seem to include the 
mechanism itself? Or maybe it is the rhetorical device of even invoking 
"responsibility" at all? In any event, your obsession with the one sentence 
you read in BFD needs some explanation, especially when you contrast it with 
your statement about your indifference to "philosophical issues."  But, of 
course, I have a long history with you, and I have seen your repeated 
attacks on what appears to be Skinner's anti-freewill stance. But maybe you 
mean, in the previous post, that you are uninterested in the philosophical 
issues only sometimes, in which case you denigrate a broad deterministic 
view, and that sometimes you simply adopt determinism as a working strategy. 
Or is God somewhere in your hardware?

All I really care about are the
> internal sensory and motor mechanisms that allow the hitter to track
> and hit the ball.

You mean the physiology that mediates stimulus control? Dang! Hermano! Oh - 
but why do you insist on casting the physiology in the same terms as the 
behavior it is meant to explain? That can't really get you anywhere, can it?


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