Re: Epiphenomenalism (was: more, briefly)

Massimo Pigliucci (pigliucci@utk.edu)
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 09:31:07 -0400

Dear Glenn

sorry to "target" you today, but that's life. You wrote:

> I remember an example given by Penfield of a woman whose brain he was

> stimulating during surgery. Her arm would move up in response to the
> stimuli. Penfield told her to try not to let her arm move. She used
> her
> other hand to hold the arm down! some have interpreted this as an
> example
> of where will acted as a causative agent to override the mechanism of
> the
> brain arm circuitry. In otherwords, we couldn't be reduced to a
> mechanism.

What? It's simply an example of one type of mechanism/impulse overriding
another one! Where do you see the soul in action there? And by the way,
no, epiphenomena are NOT vitalistic, or simply a label. Again, go back
to Kauffman for a pretty decent treatment of what they are and how can
be analyzed. I don't see what you consider vitalistic in chaos and
complexity theory.

cheers,
Massimo

--
******************************************************************
Massimo Pigliucci, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution
Society for the Study of Evolution "Dobzhansky" Awardee
Dept. of Botany, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1100
phone 423-974-6221 fax 0978

Lab page http://fp.bio.utk.edu/pgl Science & Society http://fp.bio.utk.edu/sands Darwin Day http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin Rationalists of East Tennessee http://www.korrnet.org/reality

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." -- Emo Phillips ******************************************************************