Consciousness: brain lesions remove free will (General)

by dhw, Thursday, August 01, 2019, 11:29 (342 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Note my bolds. We are all aware that brain damage can damage proper thought. This nutty paper tries to twist that into a case against free will. In the first bold, the author is unaware how words pop into his head. Really? "Garbage in ....garbage out".

dhw: Nobody knows “how” words pop into their heads, because nobody knows how consciousness works. It’s a straight choice: either your cell communities are communicating with one another at different levels, the highest of which is what you suppose to be “you” (= materialism), or an immaterial “you” is communicating with your cell communities (= dualism). The former appears to exclude free will, and the latter allows it. However, on a different plane, it might be said that the law of cause and effect precludes free will both for materialists and for dualists. The effects of brain damage clearly favour materialists, but psychic experiences favour dualists. You may remember that some time ago I proposed a theory of intelligence which attempted a compromise between the two schools of thought.

DAVID: The problem is always the same. A material brain is the seat of immaterial consciousness, which can survive transient death of the brain. Where does it go while the brain is not functioning? My answer is nowhere. The brain is like a radio and receives consciousness when the brain is functional . As for free will it is part and parcel of consciousness, which each person mediates by using his brain to exercise control.

dhw: I thought your answer was that when the brain was not functioning, consciousness went to another world. Of course free will is part and parcel of consciousness. The problem is the source of consciousness, as I have attempted to describe above.

DAVID: I don't know where consciousness goes, but my thought is in a layer of our reality at a quantum level. Not another world or whatever you mean.

Then I apologize. I thought you believed in an afterlife in which our consciousness linked up again with your God’s.

DAVID: Really not different at all:
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.0510
QUOTE: "'Neurocognitive free will ties our understanding of free will to something real. It also helps us to understand what it means. I suspect it's not what most people think. As Sartre once said, "Freedom is not a triumph." But I think neurocognitive free will gives some hints to how it could be. That will be a focus of future work.' " (dhw’s bold)

DAVID: Doesn't answer the problem at all to answer what the brain does electrically/mechanically that the materialists point to.

I love it when you and I agree. This is a fine example of scientific language being used to tell us absolutely nothing new, but to pave the way for “future work”, which for all we know might require future grants.


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