Tag brain

Some notes on free will, evolution and evolutionary psychology, part 1

This will definitely be TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read), but…

In discussing some thing on a private thread with a fellow Tippling Philosopher, I have written quite a bit on free will, evolution and evolutionary psychology which I would hat to go to waste and would love to keep for reference and posterity. None is ground-breaking or anything you wouldn’t know, but there are some good links to refer to in future conversations.

My brain

The other day I was getting really frustrated with my manual coordination. I was leaving school on a Sunday after doing some work and was trying to locate a particular key on a keyring. With one hand. Whilst holding three bags with my other and something under my arm. With something also being held in my mouth. I was attempting to swing various keys around the ring, locating which particular one I wanted out of about twenty keys. The keys kept slipping into the wrong place and I was swearing in sheer frustration.

On editing memories

I reported in my Free Will? book that we can laser in memories to fruit flies, so it was only a matter of time before such procedures were contextualised to humans. Scientific American reports:

Whitman, tumours, the neurotypical and moral responsibility

There was a famous case of a terrible shooting in 1966. Charles Whitman, an otherwise intelligent (138 IQ), ‘normal’ man, did a very abnormal thing. Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 – August 1, 1966) was an American engineering student and former U.S. Marine, who killed seventeen people and wounded thirty-two others in a mass shooting rampage located in and around the Tower of the University of Texas in Austin on the afternoon of August 1, 1966.

First interview with a dead man

New Scientist has started a new feature series on people with bizarre and rare mind / brain disorders and predicaments. This article looks at Cotard’s syndrome. What is fascinating about this article and syndrome is the interplay between brain, consciousness and self-awareness. That these conscious states arise from brian patterns:
“When I was in hospital I kept on telling them that the tablets weren’t going to do me any good ’cause my brain was dead. I lost my sense of smell and taste. I didn’t need to eat, or speak, or do anything. I ended up spending time in the graveyard because that was the closest I could get to death.”

Rats’ brains linked together to pass information directly. Mental (well, yeah).

Wow. This is mind blowing. Determinists, or near-determinists (such that quantum indeterminism may be true, but that it does not affect the macro level, and certainly not free will issues), will find this Science Daily article particularly interesting. Rats, and even pairs over thousands of miles distance, have had their brains directly linked in communication to solve puzzles. This really does gie the impression that brains are simply very complex biological computers (do you like that oxymoron?).