[ExI] The point of emotions

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Apr 25 03:38:40 UTC 2008

Damien writes

> Lee wrote:
>> Look, if some computer interface attached to a bodiless
>> head simulated *all* the feedback conveyed by nerves
>> in a normally functioning body, then what would be the
>> difference?
> This question seems to imply a sort of 1930s' view of the 
> organism-as-telephone-switchboard. But the brain and its 
> enabling/enabled body are not just wired circuits; they are vastly 
> elaborate rivers of liquids bearing weirdly shaped interlocking 
> molecules.

Do you have some idea of what the body is telling the
brain via this chemistry instead of through nerve
connections? Also, I don't see the point evolutionarily:
just what kind of thinking or feeling *ought* to be
a function of chemical "calculations" undertaken elsewhere
in the body? 

> The brain is as much a set of glands as it is a circuit 
> board of ons and offs. I'm no neurologist or endocrinologist, but it 
> seems very obvious to me (although it didn't back in the sixties, 
> when everything seemed simpler) that it would require a truly 
> staggering amount of parallel linear computations to model,
> in real time, the ebb and flow of neurotransmitters and other
> gooey factors that are more than simple pulses or switches.

So it's no brains in vats for you anymore, eh? And do you
suppose that paraplegics seem to be the same people and
seem to think the same way because their heart and other
organs continue to pass on up things of importance?

> Damien Broderick
> [currently reading Bainbridge's BEYOND THE ZONULES OF ZINN, a quite 
> charming book on the topic]

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