Knowledge Is Power's Blog (4)

My Brain Made Me Do It





In the 1970’s, Benjamin Libet conducted a series of studies that aimed to provide a timing of consciousness. A subject was asked to look at an oscilloscope timer with a moving dot and voluntarily press a button within a certain timeframe. The results showed that there was unconscious activity within the brain signaling the readiness potential for the voluntary action 300 milliseconds before the subject reported being conscious of it. These and other related studies… Continue

Added by Knowledge Is Power on January 12, 2009 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

Empiricism: Keeping Philosophy Honest

Here’s a thought experiment and a challenge for philosophers and scientists alike:



Imagine there are two universes, A and B, exactly alike in all ways except one.



In universe A there is a physical law that dictates and governs the behavior of coin flips. Every coin that is flipped in universe A is caused by this law to produce the exact following predictable pattern, 50 heads, 1 tail, 50 heads, 1 tail, and so on…



In universe B… Continue

Added by Knowledge Is Power on January 11, 2009 at 7:00pm — 8 Comments

Physical Laws

Other than solipsists and those of us in a persistent vegetative state, most of us have noticed that there is a reality, called nature, independent of our human experiences. We've also noticed that there are certain regularities in nature, meaning that there are certain propositions about nature that are always true, in all times and places, regardless of our beliefs or knowledge.



For example, even if no one bothered to notice, the speed of light in a vacuum would still be… Continue

Added by Knowledge Is Power on January 10, 2009 at 7:00pm — 3 Comments

Free Will

Free will is agency and volition. There's nothing mysterious about it. It doesn't mean that the "laws" of physics are being violated nor does it mean that any chains of causality are being broken. It also doesn’t prove anything about gods, souls, spirits or ghosts in the machine. It’s a completely natural product of evolution.



Free will requires causality. Acausal events are essentially random. There is no choice in randomness, only chance. Therefore, anyone still stuck on the… Continue

Added by Knowledge Is Power on January 9, 2009 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

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