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Here we go again on the biological carousel.

Not everything we do is biologically hardwired. I merely pointed out something that is hardwired: instinct.

Determined, instinctive, and hard-wired 'morality'.

Instinct offers no alternatives. Without those, there is no choice. No choice, no morality.

If determinism by instinct is not force, then what is it?

See above. As opposed to instinct, morality is a cultural phenomenon. Again, where is the problem in seeing the difference?

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Here we go again on the biological carousel.
Not everything we do is biologically hardwired. I merely pointed out something that is hardwired: instinct.
Determined, instinctive, and hard-wired 'morality'. Instinct offers no alternatives. Without those, there is no choice. No choice, no morality. If determinism by instinct is not force, then what is it?
See above. As opposed to instinct, morality is a cultural phenomenon. Again, where is the problem in seeing the difference?

Calvin asked "You can say things like 'It's hardwired into us'...but it doesn't take into account WHY you follow that instinct."

You replied 'You follow the instinct BECAUSE it is biologically hardwired. What's the problem?

I presume he meant why that is the only option? - is it inevitable? - can our rationality choose differently?

I thought you overlooked his meaning, and reinforced the deterministic nature of hardwiring.

I ask again, why? do you not think that every instinct you have can't be identified - then, either integrated rationally, or fully rejected? How can instincts play any role whatsoever, if you are conscious of them, and choose to over-ride them?

Now, you write "As opposed to instinct, morality is a cultural phenomenon."

I don't understand your term, but it's not what I'd explain as morality - and the alternatives you offer are choices 'between the devil, and the deep blue sea', if I did, I suspect. What is "a cultural phenomenon"?

Tony

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I presume he meant why that is the only option? - is it inevitable? - can our rationality choose differently?

I thought you overlooked his meaning, and reinforced the deterministic nature of hardwiring.

I ask again, why? do you not think that every instinct you have can't be identified - then, either integrated rationally, or fully rejected? How can instincts play any role whatsoever, if you are conscious of them, and choose to over-ride them?

Thanks. That is what I was getting at. I guess I could have chosen better words.

I would have edited my last post if it still allowed me to do so, just because it got a little confusing and I wasn't clear in my own mind what exactly I was talking about...

To try to better explain my understanding: Our memories exist primarily on a subconscious level. When we "think" we are just remembering. We focus on bits of memory, and through association, more bits of memory pop to the surface. There is no personality to our brains.

All we have are sensations and memory of sensations... We don't experience emotions, we become emotional and experience the resultant sensations.

To be determined is to be completely identifiable, which I believe we are. However, the only information we have of ourselves is conclusive through analysis of our actions. We can't see consciousness, but we can see the effects of consciousness.

There is no limit to the experiences consciousness can react to, and therefor there's no limit to how much we can learn about ourselves.

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Calvin asked "You can say things like 'It's hardwired into us'...but it doesn't take into account WHY you follow that instinct."

You replied 'You follow the instinct BECAUSE it is biologically hardwired. What's the problem?

I presume he meant why that is the only option? - is it inevitable? - can our rationality choose differently?

I thought you overlooked his meaning, and reinforced the deterministic nature of hardwiring.

Biological hardwiring is not deterministic because humans, as a result of their highly developed brain, can choose to go against it. A classic example is suicide which goes against the biogical hardwiring to preserve one's life .

Now, you write "As opposed to instinct, morality is a cultural phenomenon."

I don't understand your term, but it's not what I'd explain as morality - and the alternatives you offer are choices 'between the devil, and the deep blue sea', if I did, I suspect. What is "a cultural phenomenon"?

A cultural phenomenon is something is which only human culture can produce. Morality is an example. Animals for example cannot behave morally or immoraly because they lack the mental capacity to consciously choose a set of values in the face of an alternative. This is this what moraltiy is about: a consciously chosen set of values.

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Biological hardwiring is not deterministic because humans, as a result of their highly developed brain, can choose to go against it. A classic example is suicide which goes against the biogical hardwiring to preserve one's life.

But you originally said the reason we are curious of anything is because curiosity is hard-wired into us... So you can choose not to be curious, but the only reason we have the option is because it's hard-wired into us?

What do we base our choices on? On what would you possibly base the choice of whether or not to be curios?

There are some things that, we can say for certain, we have no choice about. Those things, at the very least, strongly influence our choices.

...And animals don't lack the mental capabilities to choose... they lack the mental capabilities to identify things on a level that would offer more choices.

Anyway...

I was thinking about ownership... We may think of experience as the most basic form of ownership. If you are experiencing, you must "have" that experience... I don't see it as my property, though. Our senses, a slightly less conceptual version of our experiences, do not belong to us either... When we have our eyes open, we have absolutely no control over what we see. If we have no control over something, it can't be on a fundamental level of ownership.

So that leaves us with our bodies. Our bodies must be our most primary possession. We don't have complete control over our bodies, though... If you get knocked unconscious, you just temporarily lost possession of your body, as well as a lot of your brain.

I think the mind is really a tool... or a toy, even. I think consciousness exists separate from a mind.

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Anyway... I was thinking about ownership... We may think of experience as the most basic form of ownership. If you are experiencing, you must "have" that experience... I don't see it as my property, though. Our senses, a slightly less conceptual version of our experiences, do not belong to us either... When we have our eyes open, we have absolutely no control over what we see. If we have no control over something, it can't be on a fundamental level of ownership. So that leaves us with our bodies. Our bodies must be our most primary possession. We don't have complete control over our bodies, though... If you get knocked unconscious, you just temporarily lost possession of your body, as well as a lot of your brain. I think the mind is really a tool... or a toy, even. I think consciousness exists separate from a mind.

Calvin.

All I read are many "can't"s, and "don't"s. My first response is: why not? Second, is: speak for yourself, old chap.

You are talking yourself into disintegration, where there should exist - and DOES exist - integration.

Tony

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This has been briefly covered however, here is a question for inquiring minds, with first, a tip of the hat to OL contributor, Roger Bissell’s research. How much of our being – spirit – brain – or essence, is hard wired? We all know about the “reflexes” and “normal reactions” that exist in human babies. Skim over these before answering my question.

Here is a list of reflexes, some observed as early as 1965. [source: Child Development, 1997, 4th Ed., Laura E. Berk].

Rooting--Stroke cheek near corner of mouth--Head turns toward source of stimulation--3 weeks (becomes voluntary head turning at 3 weeks)--Helps infant find nipple. [Note that in making this observation, voluntary behaviors are distinguished from reflexive.]

Sucking--Place finger in infant's mouth--Infant sucks finger rhythmically--Permanent--Permits feeding.

Swimming--Place infant face down in water--Baby paddles and kicks in swimming motion--4-6 months--Helps infant survive if dropped in a body of water.

Eye blink--Shine bright light at eyes or clap hand near head--Infant quickly closes eyelids--permanent--Protects infant from strong stimulation.

Withdrawal--Prick sole of foot with pin--Foot withdraws, with flexion of knee and hip--Weakens after 10 days--Protects infant from unpleasant tactile stimulation

Babinski -- Stroke sole of foot from toe toward heel--Toes fan out and curl as foot twists in--8-12 months--Unknown!

Moro--Hold infant horizontally on back and let head drop slightly, or produce a sudden loud sound against surface supporting infant--Infant makes an "embracing" motion by arching back, extending legs, throwing arms outward, and then bringing them in toward body--6 months--In evolutionary past, may have helped infant cling to mother.

Palmar grasp (something I observed as a young child when interacting with infants)--Place finger in infant's hand and press against palm—Spontaneous grasp of adult's finger--3-4 months--Prepares infant for voluntary grasping.

Stepping--Hold infant under arms and permit bare feet to touch flat surface--Infant lifts one foot after another in stepping response—2 months--Prepares infant for voluntary walking.

end quote

These behaviors are not "choices." ALL infants at BIRTH (unless they have neurological damage) elicit these behaviors given a particular stimulus. They are called reflexes because of the consistent stimulus-response pattern and the infant has not had the opportunity to learn them. What's more, most of these reflexes disappear as the infant ages.

Other things persist. Late-term fetal perception, memory, dreaming and REM patterns persist and are the same as found in adults.

What else is hard wired and persists? I am not convinced with more than ten percent of the “determinists” arguments.

Peter

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Here we go again for the umpteenth time on the epistemological roundabout:

The answer has already been provided...

Xray, my dear,

You remind me of me when you first showed up.

:smile:

(Sorry, but I just couldn't resist. :smile: )

Michael

No problem. Sometimes it takes many of those rounds before finding out that one to has to get off. :smile:

Looking back, I could have spared myself a lot of effort if, in my search for maximum preciseness, I hadn't been so fixated on terminology.

Take the term 'subjective' for example. Surely you will remembver the many times I wrote here that values are subjective.

I used 'subjective' to point out that they are the result of subjective choice, that they don't just exist 'out there'. They can change, and again, the change is due to subjective choices.

But my use of 'subjective' in this context frequently produced strong adverse reactions from other posters. To them, it must have looked as if I was 'de-valuing' the term 'value' by using it together with 'subjective'. But this was not my intention at all.

I took me surprisingly long before I finally stumbled upon the solution of the puzzle, in the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

Rand's understanding of 'subjective' is listed there: "The subjective means the arbitrary, the irrational, the blindly emotional." (AR)

So whenever I stated "values are subjective", this must have translated (to those who accepted Rand's negative interpretation of the term 'subjective') that I presented values as nothing more than "whims", chosen on a blindly emotional, irrational basis, and naturally they would try to save 'values' from this (in their eyes) 'subjectivist' devaluation.

I could have realized this misunderstanding a good deal sooner (for I had also read quite a bit of Rand where she attacked subjectivism), but I failed to see the relevance her definition of ‘subjective’ had on the discussion here. For to me, her attack on subjectivism meant an attack on solipsism, or on extreme skepticism (as demonstrated in the AS character who commented: “How does the mother of the dead son know that he ever existed?”). My interest in this type of outlandish subjectivism has always been zero; it had nothing to do with what ‘subjective’ meant to me in connection with values.

The consequence I have taken from it all is: I try to avoid using the term "subjective" together with "values", to eliminate confusion.

And if I use "subjective" in other contexts here, I make clear that Rand's interpretation of the term differs from mine.

I don't do this to engage in yet another terminology debate, but to rule out possible misunderstandings.

The current "altruism" debate on the other thread also concentrates strongly on the term itself, on its 'correct' meaning, but since altruism has become a “fudge word”, no longer being exclusively used in its original ideological meaning, another teminological turf war is likely to erupt over it.

As to Calvin: I'm convinced that he is seeking something, but have the feeling that it has not yet become clear to him what it is. And as long as he does not really know what exactly he is seeking, he will stay on the roundabout.

He asks many questions related to different issues, but when asking so many questions at the same time, one easily gets into a 'missing the forest for the trees' situation.

Over time, I have come to appreciate the 'keep it simple' approach more and more. This approach can be quite radical, getting to the root, and I think much of what Calvin asks about has its roots in human biology.

To me, arguing from biology in a philosophy discussion does not translate into 'reductionist determinism' or the like.

It merely gives biology its place in a philosophy. A place which is at the fundament. No more, no less.

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Biological hardwiring is not deterministic because humans, as a result of their highly developed brain, can choose to go against it. A classic example is suicide which goes against the biogical hardwiring to preserve one's life.

But you originally said the reason we are curious of anything is because curiosity is hard-wired into us... So you can choose not to be curious, but the only reason we have the option is because it's hard-wired into us?

No. The option is to go against the hardwiring here.

But again, it depends on the situation. You can fairly easily "choose not to be curious" to hear the latest gossip; but in the case of getting alerted by an unknown, eery noise at dead of night, in this situation virtually nobody would "choose not to be curious" to know what it is. For the noise might indicate danger.

And this is the reason why curiosity is biologically hardwired in us (just watch small children for a while and you will see how curious they are): we need to acquire knowledge about the world around us and acquire skills in order to survive.

Anyway... I was thinking about ownership... We may think of experience as the most basic form of ownership. If you are experiencing, you must "have" that experience... I don't see it as my property, though.

Nor does anyone else I assume. For 'having' sensations, feelings, headaches, nightmares, etc. has nothing to with ownership and property.

You can also 'have' your tooth pulled or you hair cut. Again, no property issues involved - quite the contrary. :smile:

I think consciousness exists separate from a mind.

And in what form does this existence manifest itself to you?

To assert that something exists separately from mind implies that it must also exist independent of a brain which provides the physical basis for the mind. Mind depends on brain.

So how can consciouness exist independent of a brain and a mind?

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I know I am not my personality. Why? Because I have a brain. That brain creates an experience so totally encompassing that I cannot conceive of being without it.

If I am not my brain, how do I know I depend on it?

At what point do we stop saying, "One day we may understand," and just accept that some things are just not logical, but can only be identified through the use of logic?

The fact that we are singular is enough to eliminate the possibility of us being anything physical...

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If I am not my brain, how do I know I depend on it?

By analogy. See what happens to others whose brains are disabled or destroyed. Then reason from similarity between you and such a victim. You may conclude by induction and similarity that the same will happen to you.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I think that there is body and mind.

Buddhists argue that the question what is a "self" is a different question than the question of body-and-mind, and I think I agree.

Even if you establish that there is body and mind, you still have a lot to think about what is "self".

If you try to pin down its referent, I mean. What is it - the body? The mind? Both, in some sense? The mind changes, so what is the "self"? Memory? But what if a person has lost his memory, he does remain his selfhood, even if not in the sense of "being the same person". In the most literal meaning, it is still himself. Maybe you can call the personality of the person as himself, but if has personality has changed, in the literal sense, he is still himself.

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As to the brain "creating" personality and experience, I think a few things

1) Science can never determine things about metaphysics. Metaphysics, as in Aristotle is supposed to determine the first principles and the basic concepts. (Casuality, entity, concept, essence). THEN, science can work. In a sense, science can find only specific facts of reality, while it is metaphysics that really finds out basics.

2) What does really "creating" mean? Can the brain "create" consciousness?

I think the concept assumes creation EX NIHILO, and this is a _very_ problematic concept.

I mean, the idea that the brain "creates" mean that there is a feeling, and before that, it didn't exist. So what is it made from? When we make a pot, we make it from clay. Is the feeling made from something? If not, it appears to reality from nothing.

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I think the mind is really a tool... or a toy, even. I think consciousness exists separate from a mind.

What does "mind" mean to you, then? To me, consciousness is identical to mind more or less.

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I think the mind is really a tool... or a toy, even. I think consciousness exists separate from a mind.

What does "mind" mean to you, then? To me, consciousness is identical to mind more or less.

http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8CBocuXSiM

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The mind changes, so what is the "self"? Memory? But what if a person has lost his memory, he does remain his selfhood, even if not in the sense of "being the same person". In the most literal meaning, it is still himself. Maybe you can call the personality of the person as himself, but if has personality has changed, in the literal sense, he is still himself.

I asked earlier in this thread: What am I without memory?

You can't describe it.

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I think the mind is really a tool... or a toy, even. I think consciousness exists separate from a mind.

What does "mind" mean to you, then? To me, consciousness is identical to mind more or less.

Mind(ing) is one of the things the brain does.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The mind changes, so what is the "self"? Memory? But what if a person has lost his memory, he does remain his selfhood, even if not in the sense of "being the same person". In the most literal meaning, it is still himself. Maybe you can call the personality of the person as himself, but if has personality has changed, in the literal sense, he is still himself.

I asked earlier in this thread: What am I without memory?

You can't describe it.

You are a disoriented, confused, disentegrating being.

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Mind(ing) is one of the things the brain does. Ba'al Chatzaf

All we have is our memories and our senses. Everything else is us; singular and non-physical.

Each of "us" is a collection of molecules changing over time.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Mind(ing) is one of the things the brain does. Ba'al Chatzaf

All we have is our memories and our senses. Everything else is us; singular and non-physical.

Each of "us" is a collection of molecules changing over time.

Ba'al Chatzaf

And the point of this observation is...?

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We have very limited control over our experience.

I think power can only exist relative a separate power. Total freedom/power can't exist. You cannot do whatever you want without first having something to want.

Can we want this thread to end?

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