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Unread March 18th, 2006, 03:20 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Default Re: Reasonable limits to the modularity thesis

Originally Posted by ToddStark
If I get the drift here, it sounds like Tom is suggesting that human moral reasoning is essentially the application of something like instincts (via evolved computational modules in this particular case). So for example, moral responsibility is nothing more than the pull of guilt wired into us for doing the wrong thing. This implies to me that there is no such thing as human wisdom, or no basis for its development, or that it is something inflexible and hardwired.
You stress the punishment force (guilt) in our decisions but not the reward side. I'm guessing that you accept that there are both so I will not add to this except to say that I would agree that guilt is not sufficient.

There is such a thing as "human wisdom" and a basis for it: we, like all good evolvers are just trying to make the best of our environment. We can weigh many, many inputs and choose to be conciliatory or brutish. Human wisdom is just this basic fact taken to its currently highest form.

That I think a 'regret module' is tremendously important as a proof of the evolution of psychology and an un-free will does not mean that I'm a 'modularist' and think that everything is encapsulated. Yikes. I accept that 'modules' are not opaque and not even that 'modular'. That's not my argument.

I'm ONLY saying that 'will is completely dependent on the brain', however wonderful that brain is. If you take a mind-altering drug, you've changed your will. Even Fred says that if your brain is damaged enough, you have no free will. If you have no free will, you have no 'morals' beyond the instincts that have been bred into us as social animals. We're all just fooling ourselves in whatever way will make us most acceptable to our respective, and vastly different, tribes; except, of course, me .

I know we're probably going around the circle again (and may forever) but if you want to say that 'something else' gives us and machines some power beyond the brain, I'd like to know what that is.

It must be frustrating to read what I write without my having read all the books and understanding whatever 'great knowable truth' there is out there that you accept and I'm sorry about that. I'm stupid, I like to keep it simple.
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