Re: Asifism

From: John Mikes <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 11:32:50 -0400

As we said it in Hungary: let the 'bartender' talk into it...
I feel it is a vague metaphor to have 'brain centers stimulated'- HOW? - as
persuaded them to do something? There are physiologic activities translated
(somewhere, somehow) into mental events and so far we know(?) about electric
connections. But wait: before I try to express my ignorance of what (how) to
identify as "consciousness" (even, maybe 'conscious') - Galvani's frog legs
were not attached to the braincells and reacted to the 'pain' of the
electric shock. That goes back a step from crying 'OUCH' upon an electric
shock. So, while I do not deny the role of the 'pain centers', I cannot
assign their exclusivity in the process either. My view is "complexity" of
which both brain tissues, functions, mentality and the ambiance of the body
(human etc. 'live' beings) is interactively involved - and we are pretty far
from understanding HOW and: "What else"? We are not singularities, not our
mind, not our body - which could be envisioned (I didn't even dare say:
 understood) independently by themselves. Not even in THEIR (separated)
Whatever we find is useful, unless we consider it as "ALL of it".
I like Bruno's hint(?) about 'ethics' - I never had a reasonable idea what
may work in it, unless I identified it with the 'culture-related' morality.
I still question the sole effect of such ethics upon myself,. it would be a
very selfish ethics. May it be extended to include pain-centers' stimulus of
3rd persons???
Torgny wrote: "If you are really unconscious or not conscious, you could say
indeed, but I hardly believe you are unconscious...."
As that arbitrary approach to consciousness goes in my mind (I consider it a
historical noumenon applied bt diverse authors to fit their theory) it
includes a mental side: awareness and direction of the body, response to
information we get. Total 'unconsciousness' is death. In anesthetic one
still controls not even the smooth muscles, but reflexes as well and a lot
more. Other things may be suspended (as on vacation), e.g. memory. When I
woke up after appendectomy I continued tp be angry: I argued angrily FOR
being put out instead of a local anesthetics. 'Conscious also has levels,
some within full awareness, some (partly?) hidden, yet within the active
mentality effects.
We use these words as they 'fit' what we want to express (as all others).
The yearly Tucsan Int'l. Conferences on 'Consciousness' (I follow them since
1991) still could not agree in definitions.
To the question: " do you think *we* are conscious?" my unsolicited answer
is: we can write defkinitions by which "yes" and ofher definitions by which
"no" and don't forget the intermedietes.
Bruno mixes acting with feeling. Actors 'feel' the paycheck and "play - as
if". No fMRI involved for the role they simulate by the outside visible.
Even 'good actors' go on;y as far as the secondary phenomena of their
role-playing are involved. No actor died by the character's heart attack.
Only if they had "their own" - personal, not acted - illness. I was an
"actor" in my last job when the international management made - in my
scientific thinking - 'bad' decisions: I complied and had the next paycheck
in mind, reminding myself that I don't 'own' the company. Did not 'fire'
I still want to make some appreciative remarks to the "asifism", but this
one goes to Bruno's post.

John M

On 6/6/07, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:
> Le 04-juin-07, à 14:10, Torgny Tholerus a écrit :
> > Bruno Marchal skrev:
> > Le 01-juin-07, à 18:47, Torgny Tholerus a écrit :
> >
> > When I am tortured, my pain center in my brain will be stimulated.
> > This
> > will cause me to try to avoid this situation (being tortured). One
> > (good) way to archive this is to start talking about "ethics". If I
> > can
> > make other human beings to "believe" that it is ethically wrong to
> > torture objects, that behave as if they were conscious, then the
> > probability that somebody will torture me decreases.
> >
> > But if "me" is not conscious, why should us try to diminish that
> > probability?
> >
> > My brain is constructed in such a way, that if my pain center is
> > stimulated, then I will not repeat those action that caused the pain
> > center to be stimulated. (And if my lust center is stimulated, then I
> > will repeat those actions that caused my lust center to be
> > stimulated.) My neurons in my brain are interconnected in such a way,
> > causing this behavoiur.
> All right.
> > This is all ethics is about: Trying to avoid stimulating the pain
> > center
> > in our brains.
> >
> > Could pain exist without consciousness?
> > Do you agree that the sensation of pain is different from acting like
> > if having that sensation of pain?
> > If not movie actors would complain!
> >
> > Pain is the same thing as the pain center in the brain being
> > stimulated.
> If you are really unconscious or not conscious, you could say this,
> indeed, but I hardly believe you are unconscious.
> In the best case your theory will work for you and other "zombie". It
> cannot work for those who admit the 1/3 distinction or the mind/body
> apparent distinction.
> You are on the fringe of being an eliminativist philosopher. What I do
> appreciate is that you offer your theory for yourself. Let me ask you
> explicitly this question, which I admit is admittedly weird to ask to a
> zombie, but: do you think *we* are conscious?
> > When movie actors behave as if they were feeling pain, then it is not
> > pain, because their pain center in their brains are not being
> > stimulated. Only their outer behaviour is the same, inside their
> > brains there will be different.
> OK.
> Bruno

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Thu Jun 07 2007 - 11:33:00 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:14 PST