Re: What Is Behaviour?

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Sat Mar 02 1996 - 16:36:21 GMT

> From: "Haseldine, Philip" <>
> Date: Sat, 2 Mar 1996 14:01:01 +0000 (GMT)
> I disagree with the behaviourist view that we do not have free will-
> that are actions are (predetermined ?) selections from a vast array of
> responses for different situations which we may encounter. I believe
> that we ARE free...

It is fine to express your beliefs, but in this discussion you also have
to support them with reasons and evidence. The fact is that, at the very
least, there is a PROBLEM about "free will," and it is related to the
mind/body problem: What causal role can the mind play that the brain
does not already play? The brain, like any other organ, is just a physical
system. If the mind has some INDEPENDENT causal power, that puts it at
odds with everything we know about physics: Mind over matter?

> We are human beings, not machines.

This statement has no content until we determine what is and is not a
machine. It is like saying human beings are not X's, without say what an
X is.

> There is no way that you can write a program for
> a "machine" with an infinite number of actions/behaviours to prepare
> for the infinite number of permutations for what will happen to us, or
> what we will cause to "happen" for us in the future

Again, this is simply the statement of a belief: Do you have reasons?

> I realise that I have just contradicted my statement that we are humans
> and not machines- maybe we are both?!!

"We are X. No, we are not X." Yes, that is a contradiction, or would be,
if you first said what "X" is.

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