Monday, September 13, 2010

Who steers the body?

Last week I wondered whether the fact (if it is a fact) that the zombie within me takes his decisions while I am not conscious of them really implies that it is not actually I who steers my body but that it is the zombie who does. “Even when the decisions are taken unconsciously by my zombie … , it is quite well possible that they are ‘my’ rational decisions, albeit that they are my rational unconscious decisions”, so I wrote. I think that this remark needs some further explanation.
Let’s say a manager has a car with chauffeur and orders the chauffeur to drive to 3 Mind Square where he has a meeting. The chauffeur carries out the order and brings the manager to the right address. Who then causes the ride being made: The manager or the chauffeur? For isn’t it so that the chauffeur starts the engine, steers the car, chooses the route, etc.? But in the end it is the manager who decides and determines what is to be done: Going to 3 Mind Square. Isn’t it the same with the zombie within me and my brain interpreter (=I) ? My zombie does a lot which I have no knowledge of and takes many decisions for me and starts to execute them before I know them. Might it not be so that my “mindbrain” functions like a manager with a car with chauffeur? That I am the manager and that the zombie within me is my chauffeur (and that my body is the car)? Then we can explain, for instance, why most I do is not conscious for me (the chauffeur drives the car, while the manager is reading his papers and takes no notice of what the chauffeur does) and why I can explain only afterwards why certain decisions have been taken (why I went through the Brain Street and not though the Zombie Street: because the chauffeur preferred this route, although I did not know that beforehand ), albeit I (the manager) who determines the main lines and plans for the future (going to 3 Mind Square).

6 comments:

maynard10 said...

To begin, i confessed , i am no expert on philosophy. The following is what came to my mind/brain but not a knee-jerk reaction, its only a small attempt.
Is it possible when we ask/posed a question(s) we already had a range of answers/choices to choose from, once we initiate to ask a questions within split seconds, the brain already allocated choices/answers from both the external and metaphysical environment. Therefore we created a zombie or maybe the unconcious actor. is it not because, we are conscious therefore it allows us or be aware to appreciate the unconconcious. Can the unconcious aware the concious (from the stand-point of the unconcious).
I believed (hypothetical) that we are beings with some sense of directions (inbuilt directions), the human form was designed to have direction(s), e.g leg for walking on the street etc. therefore whatever we do we must direct at something (maybe the subject-object), what i can conclude amateurishly, is that the zombie is us/self/ego, we can be the me, myself and I at the same time e.g the atom is made of one nucleus with revolving electrons. Therefore we are the means and we are the ends.
maynard10.

HbdW said...

Maynard 10, thank you for your reaction. It is true, we have already a range of reactions to choose from, but these are learned reactions that we learned from experience. When these reactions become the reactions automatically done in the appropriate situations, they have become to belong to our zombie. Indeed, that is a thing our zombies does: reacting quickly and automatically before we become conscious of our reactions and can become conscious of them. However, probably there was first a zombie and then consciousness in human development, so we cannot say that we created a zombie or unconscious actor. It might be more likely that it was the other way round, but it is not known why we have a consciousness or brain interpreter. Why cannot we do without it? Much is still unknown here.
Personally I do not think that we were designed with a certain direction. Our characteristics developed just by chance and the human beings with better characteristics in the sense better adapted to the environment (when looking for food and shelter, for instance) survived. In short, that is Darwin’s survival of the fittest. But this does not exclude that the zombie is us/self ego. But what remains than is why we needed to be a conscious zombie.

Simon said...

To me it seems evry similar to the Mereological fallacy wrok we have talked about. I the complete system/ individual am made up of various physical and information processing/command and control subsystems. Some of which have conscious aspects. In the end it is a team effort though it looks like the conscious aspect wants to claim all the credit and pass the blame depending on the circumstance. :)

HbdW said...

Yes, okay, I agree that it is a team effort. But the problem is that we feel that we first take a conscious decision and that then the body executess this decision, while recent research says that some unconscious process takes a decision and starts to execute it and that only then we start to think that we make a decision which yet has to be executed (so a bit the other way round than we think that we do).

Simon said...

I just think it is similar to the illusion of free will by the 'self; it is just another illusion.It seems that the 'truth' of the situation -that the whole individual makes the decision not the conscious self- can only be seen from a 3rd person POV.

HbdW said...

Yes, I agree. And that's of course the difference between a 1st person POV and a 3rd person POV