Your Life is Meaningless: Neuropath and Nihilism

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Scott Bakker, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. falcon57

    falcon57 Registered User

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    > Now, if neuroscience says free will is an illusion, what does that imply about God?

    I don't think that doesn't imply anything. Consider two possibilities: In one world you are just a natural phenomenon, you
    and whatever you think and do is basically determined by neurons and randomness, in the other world you have free will.
    How could you find out whether you are in world one or two? So, just take your pick and approach the original question again.

    My claim is that it implies nothing if you are not second guessing god. A 'good' god would not put you in world one he
    would put you in world two.
     
  2. Fantasyeatergal

    Fantasyeatergal I didn't do it!

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    My conception of free-will has changed since I took some bio-anthropology classes few semesters back. I’ll try to put it as clearly as I can. (It shall be challenging to me, for I’ve never discuss this subject in English)

    Humanity’s level of complexity is the only thing that distinct us from the rest of the animal reign. Through evolution, our specie has developed a greater stage of consciousness of ourselves and our environment which enabled us to innovate in different area of our life. Let’s call it creativity. That creativity has induced a vast cultural diversity. In fact, it created behaviour possibilities.

    Every animal species, especially social ones, are neurologically programmed to respect certain patterns of behaviour in order to live in their respective “society”. But where does that “program” come from? In very small part, it comes from our so called natural instinct that responds to our natural needs: security, feeding, reproduction. For the greater part, our brain is culturally trained to work effectively in society. That leads to an interesting consequence, namely the alterability of that “brain training”.

    One seldom goes against one’s cultural conditioning, for it requires an effort, but it’s hardly unfeasible. Here’s a very trivial example. We are culturally conditioned to find certain things disgusting. With a conscious effort, one can change one’s response to a stimulus.

    To put it short, I see free-will as our capacity to choose between our self-made possibilities. Although these multiple-choice decisions don’t contain limitless answers, the responses are countless enough for me to call it free will. My conclusion: our decisions are somewhat limited but surely not controlled.

    … Hope it was not too confusing… :confused:
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2008
  3. SolipsisticUrge

    SolipsisticUrge Resident Homoplasmate

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    Hey, another newcomer, just couldn't resist.

    I think the perception of free will as an absolute value is inherently flawed. Certainly we are more capable of determining our actions than, say, a gopher, but this is mostly due to the fact that we are several steps removed from our natural impulses through what we call "thinking." The causal chains that determine our behavior are more numerous and complex than those affecting the lowly gopher.

    Rather, I think we have taken an evolutionary step toward free will, in our ability to temporarily, to some degree, override cultural conditioning, instinct, whatever. Whether or not this will eventually encompass an ability to resist or determine the electrochemical effects of stimulation of the brain on our behavior remains to be seen.

    As for e vidence, I am a lowly car mechanic, and have none, so nyuh.
     
  4. Sjnjerak

    Sjnjerak New Member

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    As I hold the "all to popular preemptive stance" as my personal view in this matter (and have come to this conclusion by my self, regardles of Heidegger) I would very much like to hear your objections to it. The reasoning is sound as far I can see, and I like to have my conclusions challanged as often as possible.

    Furthermore, the Hard Problem makes the entire Neurosience vs Free Will discussion very far-fetched. We have begun to solve the Easy Problem which is how neural activity correlates to specific behaviour, it will probably still take decades of research, a few full-blood geniuses, and an unbelivable amount of resources, but today it appears we might get there.

    We still however have no idea how to solve the Hard Problem or even where to start looking. The Hard Problem deals with the connection between the brain and consiousness perception. This is hard because there are to this day no sientific way to study consiousness, there isn't even a universially accepted definition of the word.

    To put it plainly: We might one day be able to track a visual impulse that reaches the way to the eye, all the way up to the brain, analyze the amazingly intricrate pattern of synapse action as the impulse is processed and then follow the response to the processed information in the organism. What we will be unable to do, however, is to look at this chain of neural action and point and say "Here is where the neural impulse becomes cognitive perception." This is where people are tempted to remove cognition from the equation and simply work with neural impulses and behaviour, which is convenient from a sientific point of view put hardly satisfying as most of us are convinced that they have subjective experiences, regardles of their origins. What I am trying to say is: As long as we have no idea as to how the brain correlates with experience, it is irrelevant to talk about how the brain affects our experience of free will. It's simply all to early to say anything, so all assumptions are still equally valid.

    English is not my first language and it's been a while since I've used it so I appologise if I'm being unclear. Please ask and I'll try to clarify my reasoning.
     
  5. Dimeolas

    Dimeolas New Member

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    Opened a bloody mess didnt we? Does it really matter if we find answers? plate tectonics and evolution? I`ll be lucky to see 60 years of life, so I honestly dont care. We consider how we experience and understand events in life. Even tho we may think we understand who is to say that we really do or do we clutch at straws? We have little experience in society building. Rules come about supposedly to better further the survival of man. We supposedly see a right and a wrong based on different criteria, religious etc. But here for me is the rub, whom among us is so wise and grand that they can claim to know and understand and judge?
    My first philosophy prof ran us through the..... how do you know you are real? how do you know the wall is there and not just an illusion? many factors play on our decisions. but yes I will say we do have free will.
    heres my question though....do we have to understand it all to live? And who is to say that when we pronounce it solved that we are right, or do we decieve ourselves? Are we the highest form of intellect, is there nothing beyond us?
    Honestly although I know we try and understand i dont think we will ever solve all the riddles. i just dont have to have all the answers to enjoy life. ACK just noticed this was really old, sorry. nm.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  6. dragmio

    dragmio New Member

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    Our lives have no meaning? Well, thanks for reminding us. :)

    Still, it's one thing to try and shock an ordinary reader and defeat all possible arguments with one stone, and quite another to not give credit where credit is due.

    People have been thinking along these Nihilistic lines for thousands of years. Primarily the Buddhist philosophers of old (see Nagarjuna), but also western thinkers.
    The consequences of supposed "Apocalypse of Meaning" are very close to Heraclitus in ethics, psychology and even cosmology.

    But similarities are there in a broader sense, too. Our everyday experience is an illusion? Well that's the basis of every philosophy before Aristotle (the guy who invented logic and made science possible), and quite a lot of it after him.

    Still, instead of saying that science has only confirmed what philosophers knew for literally thousands of years, you say philosophy is BS? That's preposterous.

    And if you measure success by body count, any ideology has killed more than all machine guns, cannons, tanks and bombs put together (including nuclear bombs), not to mention various religions.

    So, if you're trying to shock soccer moms and commuter dads that's fine, but don't expect to impress anyone with any real knowledge on philosophy. Since you are one of the latter, it's beyond me why would you expect that anyway, but it seems you do.
     
  7. Eyriq

    Eyriq New Member

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    Owing to science being an ancillary process of our understanding it is oxymoronic to see meaningless phenomena. Our intuitions are refined and enriched by science. Saying that one is alienated from existence by the very process through which one exists is like saying... well I'm sure there is a witty analogy somewhere. Regardless I think the point is clear.

    As to purpose, encase intuition and understanding in a module for analysis and have at it. Any vehicle with information gathering and processing capabilities will have purpose inscribed in the very foundation of its being, and this can be understood through said analysis.

    Anyway, I really enjoy your work (PoN much more than Disciple of the Dog so far, but only half-way through Disciple).

    It looks like you don't check this site anymore, but I just thought I'd chime in the discussion.