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To me, one of the most striking aspects of "Consciousness and Free Will..." (Dr. Perlovsky's Feb 2011 WMC paper) is a kind of "fractal" pattern regarding "early" and "late" events in the brain, a pattern that might be missed on a first reading (a Figure 2 summarizing it would be helpful). Here's how it works, I think:

At the level of milliseconds, as sketched out on page 4a, the "early events" (my term) are signals from sensor organs and the "late events" are memory representations (that aren't immediately "crisp"). At the macro level, counting time now in years (on pp. 5-6) instead of milliseconds, the "early events" are language representations and the "late events are cognition representations. For lack of a better term, we might call this parallelism "fractal." The pattern is appealing and lends weight to the overall scheme, but it interests me also because it maps well to a scheme of my own ("Recovering from Libet's Left Turn into Veto-as-Volition: A Proposal for Dealing Honestly with the Central Mystery of Libet (1983)" in OJPP Feb 2012) where Freud's rather unrespectable 'unconscious' is given more status, as what I call the 'body brain' (where lots of "early events" occur, close to real time) while the 'head brain' is always lagging (with "late events"), having an illusion of "now" but actually experiencing the world on a 1/2 second delay. While Perlovsky's scheme would appear to be the fruit of many years of hard data accumulation, mine is a second-hand cobbled together affair, based on some rather peculiar sources. But the extreme difference in "where we are coming from" makes the similarities in our models all the more interesting I think. Potentially I have many more comments on and questions about his paper, but I thought I'd start with this attempt to summarize the early/late aspect and see if I have that piece of puzzle right before going on. (Eventually I would hope to get to 'free will' itself, but his paper is very rich and has many other facets that draw my attention before that one in particular.)

  Conal Boyce



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