Can neurons break the rules?


What makes us think that brain cells are any less automatic than ligands signaling platelets to migrate towards a wound? Do you intend your ligands towards an unknown cut? And do you then have them secrete signal chemicals to attract a convention of platelets? Are you really the master behind all this work?

No—you are not the master, although you do seem to control some things.

I guess a good way of putting the puzzle is this: How could a ghost be the master of only some (first person) corporeal processes, but not all of them?

  1. Scenario 1: I believe I can and do control my thoughts, speech, and larger body movements. And I know that I cannot control the synthesis of ATP from glucose, or the ferrying of garbage via the Golgi apparatus. This “I” can control some things, but not all of them.
  2. Scenario 2: I believe I can but do not control my thoughts, speech, and larger body movements. For the sake of consistency, I must relegate the action of neurons to the same level of physical determinism as bile secretion.

The problem is: why would neurons have freedom (or be ghost determinable) while liver cells do not? Again—why would matter in neurons suddenly become free, while all other matter is locked down inside Laplacian determinism?