Re: virus: (un)selfishness

Robin Faichney (
Sat, 26 Apr 1997 10:31:00 +0100

Martz wrote:
>On Fri, 25 Apr 1997, Robin Faichney <> wrote:
><snip Dennett, self, Cartesian Theatre and dualism>
>OK. We're back down to definitions again. I'm obviously using 'self' in
>a looser manner to you. For the purposes of this discussion do a quick
>mental search-and-replace and where I have said 'self' substitute 'the
>biological entity under discussion'. Does that help?

Don't think so, sorry!

>>If you accept there's no real self, you can't consistently claim
>>that a chain of causation could be traced back to it.
>See above. 'Self-interest' becomes 'in the interest of the biological

OK, so you're talking about the entity as a whole. Fair enough.
Except that, if in pursuit of the motivation of an action you
descend to the level of individual neurons (which I think is what
you suggested), there is no way to climb back up to that of the
entity as a whole. You're still left with some patterns of
neuronal firing, which there's no way to link to anything but
previous patterns of neuronal firing.

>>>It also tells us that reflection alone *cannot* reveal our motives to
>>>us. It also requires examination from an outside source.
>>No, it just tells us introspection is not entirely reliable.
>???...That's what I just said.

There's a difference between saying that something is generally
insufficient, and saying it's not always sufficient. OK, it's a
matter of degree, but it seemed significant to me here.