Re: Free will (was: Re: Nucleus Accumbens Transplant)

Scott Badger (
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 13:59:46 -0600

J. R. Molloy states:

>Scott Badger asks,

>>Didn't Crick just get done explaining that we are aware
>>of the decisions to act but not aware of the computations
>>which lead to the decisions to act? And consequently
>>we confabulate to make meaning out of it all and reassure
>>ourselves of our self-determination? There is only process
>>and outcome. We observe the outcome and convince
>>ourselves it is the product of our will.
>We can't do this unless we want to do it. Our wanting to do it (or anything
>else, for that matter) requires that the region called the "anterior
>cingulate sulcus," next to Brodmann's area 24, functions well.
>To prove this, Crick relates the story of what happens to someone whose
>anterior cingulate sulcus (the seat of Free Will) has become inoperable due
>to damage to that area of the brain.

>>Why then would he suddenly start talking about where in the
>>brain Free Will is located? Doesn't he mean "where the
>>computations are?"
>The computations constitute Free Will.

I fail to comprehend how you (or Crick) equate unconscious computations with Free Will. Wanting to do something (anything) may require a healthy "anterior cingulate sulcus," but Crick seems to be suggesting that this area is an enigmatic black box which serves to covertly puppeteer our behaviors. That doesn't sound like any kind of Free Will I've heard of.

>>Anyway, it's long been disconcerting to me that so much
>>of my behavior is not actually under my control. This is one
>>of the reasons I'm a transhumanist. Transhumanism to me
>>is all about attaining Free Will and potentiating our intelligence.
>>It may be the most important human limitation to overcome.
>Many people find this information disconcerting, as Crick points out in
>Astonishing Hypothesis_.
>Many people found the discovery of DNA disconcerting.
>Many people found the theory of heliocentricity disconcerting (especially
>the Pope).
>Many people may find an autonomous synthetic intelligence disconcerting.
>Perhaps further research and experimentation along the lines suggested by
>Crick (he describes several experimental approaches in his book), will
>discover the area of the brain which relates to feelings of
>--J. R.

The great experiment we are a part of addresses the question, "Can deluded entities without free will discover and/or transcend their true nature?"