Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 11:58:24 -0700

1Z wrote:
> Dennett's idea of "stored" conscious volition is quite in line with our
> theory. Indeed, we would like to extend it in a way that Dennett does
> not. We would like to extend it to stored indeterminism. Any decision
> we make in exigent situations wher we do nto have the luxury of
> conisdered thought must be more-or-less determinsistic -- must be
> more-or-less determined by our state of mind at the time - -if they are
> to be of any use at all to us. Otherwise we might as well toss a coin.
> But our state of mind at the time can be formed by rumination, training
> and so over a long period, perhaps over a lifetime. As such it can
> contain elemetns of indeterminism in the positive sense -- of
> imagination and creativity, not mere caprice.

Right. Even if it's determined, it's determined by who we are.

> This extension of Dennett's criticism of Libet (or rather the way
> Libet's results are used by free-will sceptics) gives us a way of
> answering Dennett's own criticisms of Robert Kane, a prominent defender
> of naturalistic Free Will.

I didn't refer to Libet and Grey Walter as refuting free will - I was well aware of
Dennett's writings (and Stathis probably is to). But I think they show that the
conscious feeling of making a decision and actually making the decision are different
things; that most of a decision making is unconscious. Which is exactly what you
would expect based on a model of a computer logging it's own decisions. I actually
found Grey Walter's experiments more convincing that Libet's. It's too bad they
aren't likely to be repeated.

Brent Meeker

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Received on Tue Sep 12 2006 - 14:59:27 PDT

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