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Re: [xmca] Educational neuroscience

Greg, of course the premises of my thought experiment are absurd. That is part of the point of thought experiments.
But I can't agree with your points about complexity or quantum mechanics,

In his "Mind. A Brief Introduction," John R. Searle appeals to quantum indeterminancy to rescue human freedom from the laws of physics and biology, to which any organ of the human body is subject. But this is a huge category error! Free will, the capacity of human beings to determine their own behavious (by using artefacts) is categorically different from indeterminacy, the opposite in fact. It would be like saying that aeroplanes fly, in defiance of gravity, by all their atoms accidentally moving upwards at the same time.

And complexity is no barrier to science. A pack of 52 playing cards has a lot of combinations, too, but that does not prevent the strategies of the poker player being a valid subject for science, even for the experienced poker player. Complexity, chaos theory and the related concept of "emergence" function, in this context, like the concept of God, to cover over the gaps which the natural scientist finds themself unable to cover in the understanding of human action and human freedom. Human freedom arises from the use of artefacts, contructed by our forebears, in participation in social activity, created by those around us. No complexity or quantuim indeterminacy is required. J G Fichte solved this one a long time ago.


http://home.mira.net/~andy/works/searle.htm <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/works/searle.htm>

Greg Thompson wrote:
I'm doubtful of your premise that brain science will ever get to this point. For a literary response along these lines, see Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and Raskolnikov's insistence that man is not a piano-key and if proven so, he would go crazy just to show otherwise - or was it Svidragailov that said this? From a scientific standpoint I think that the potential predictions of brain science run into a problem of complexity. There are more potential connections in the brain than there are particles in the universe. This makes every brain into an incredibly complex organism and makes prediction unlikely due what Chaos theorists call the Butterfly Effect:
Chaos theory - a last defense of human freedom?
Or perhaps Quantum Physics?
Frankly, I'm much happier with the 19th century Russian writer's response.
Hate to be the /raskol/ to the neuroscience craze.
Всего хорошего,

On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    I would like to suggest a thought experiment.
    Suppose that neuroscience had progressed to a point where every
    psychological phenomenon has been traced to a specific formation
    in the brain. (This is of course very far from the case. Even
    dramatic psychological disorders are often invisible to
    neuroscience, but just suppose. ....)

    What then?

    It could help faciitate new pharamceutical and surgical cures for
    psychological disorders.
    So instead of better teaching, we could administer drugs to
    children so they learn faster, or something??
    It is only surgical and pharmceutical interventions that require
    neuroscientific knowledge. Oherwise, stories about the brain just
    function as rationalisations, for doing things which can be
    explained and tested without reference to the brain,