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jwdink comments on Why You're Stuck in a Narrative - Less Wrong

38 [deleted] 04 August 2009 12:31AM

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Comment author: jwdink 04 August 2009 05:56:58PM *  0 points [-]

Wonderful post.

Because the brain is a hodge podge of dirty hacks and disconnected units, smoothing over and reinterpreting their behaviors to be part of a consistent whole is necessary to have a unified 'self'. Drescher makes a somewhat related conjecture in "Good and Real", introducing the idea of consciousness as a 'Cartesian Camcorder', a mental module which records and plays back perceptions and outputs from other parts of the brain, in a continuous stream. It's the idea of "I am not the one who thinks my thoughts, I am the one who hears my thoughts", the source of which escapes me. Empirical support of this comes from the experiments of Benjamin Libet, which show that a subconscious electrical processes precede conscious actions - implying that consciousness doesn't engage until after an action has already been decided. If this is in fact how we handle internal information - smoothing out the rough edges to provide some appearance of coherence, it shouldn't be suprising that we tend to handle external information in the same matter.

Even this language, I suspect, is couched in a manner that expresses Cartesian Materialist remnants. One of the most interesting things about Dennett is that he believes in free will, despite his masterful grasp of the disunity of conscious experience and action. This, I think, is because he recognizes an important fact: we have to redefine the conscious self as something spaced out over time and location (in the brain), not as the thing that happens AFTER the preceding neuronal indicators.

But perhaps I'm misinterpreting your diction.

Comment author: ajayjetti 05 August 2009 06:24:12AM -1 points [-]

I don't get you

Comment author: jwdink 05 August 2009 04:58:49PM 0 points [-]

I don't get you

Could you say why?