Re: [xmca] Response to David Kellogg about Volition

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Thu Sep 06 2007 - 23:18:47 PDT

Welcome aboard Steve.

I have always thought that the proposition that thinking is like
computation is so barren, so stupid and so obviously an reflected
projection, that to argue against it is to enter into the stupidity, and I
would rather not. It's similar to people finding proof of neo-liberal
economics in Darwinian biology, overlooking the fact that Darwin imported
liberal economic ideas into his view of Nature in the first place.
Computers are the latest thing, and information scientists develop tools
for humans to use by emulating human activity, and then other people
discover that people think like computers. Upside-down. Generates lots of
academic salaries and popular book sales anyway.

Although I think complexity theory and the concept of chaos are very rich
and interesting ideas, I think they are out of place in describing the
working of such a "well-oiled machine" (he, he) as the human mind. One
thing about the application of this theory to the mind, and this is David's
issue I believe, is that it is a radically unfree concept of the human
condition. Allied with the concept of emergence, it is a fig leaf to cover
a lacuna in positivist knowledge of the mind. We cannot explain how a few
bits of flesh can be so creative and so clever, so its must be emergence,
complexity, chaos, etc., etc.,

I am intrigued also by David's question as to why learners should be so in
favour of learning theories which give them no power. Perhaps it is because
those learning theories also give them no responsibility?


At 09:41 PM 6/09/2007 -0700, you wrote:
>First time poster here and this may be from out of
>left field, I'm not sure. I am not active in the
>field so forgive me if but:
>Roger Penrose, a prominent asttrophysicist, (among
>others) has advanced the case that human
>thinking/consciousness/cognition is not
>"computational". Here he follows Kurt Goedel in the
>use of the term computational. He wrote a book that
>started with this premise and then further wrote a
>response to a chorus of influential academics, all of
>whom issued polemics against his book and especially
>the "non-computational" thesis.
>The contents of his reply somewhat step into the
>middle of the debate but should be perfectly
>understandable even to someone who hasn't read the
>book or the scathing reviews. The Contents are
>numbered and I recommend especiallyr reading #s 3 and
>4 and then some of the later items at your own
>discretion, evocatively titled "Free Will", "What Is
>Consciousness?" and so on.
>Penrose is not really trying to answer those
>questions, by the way, only remove them from a
>reductive, emergent from matter, reducible to physical
>properties and laws, perspective.
>Might at least help center your search for how and
>where volition fits into the puzzle.
>This is a wonderful list by the way, thanks guys
> > It's a good read too, but it wasn't what I was
>looking for. I need
> some
> > > way of integrating complexity theory and VOLITION
> > > language teaching (which is what I do)
>volition-free approaches are
> very
> > > popular (nativism, subconscious acquisition, and
> chaos-complexity
>Need a vacation? Get great deals
>to amazing places on Yahoo! Travel.
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, AIM
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Received on Thu Sep 6 23:22 PDT 2007

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