We don't like the idea of a reflex becuase it violates the Harvard law. (any other reasons why?) When I prick the foot of a person who's spine has been cut they will not always pull it back or pull it back in the same way... however, that they can pull the foot back even though they cannot feel the foot implies that neurons can function in simplest terms wihtout connection (input from or output to) the rest of the NS. TO pull the foot back takes only a sensory neuron connected to a motor neuron. So this means that a neuron doesn't need to be apart of the biggest box in order to perform it's function and also, it can exhibit the Harvard law inconsistency as an indiivdual or very small group of 2. So the Law is active at the micro and macro level.

In Buddhist philosophy we spoke sopme about the issue of free will. the issue of mind/brain split comes up, and it is taken for granted by many that "science" sees the brain as a big computer. cut and dry--they have taken the soul out of man. There must be a mind a locus of free will, where "I" exist. it would seem that free will could be explained in terms of the harvard law...neurons will fire randomly or not at all sometimes for "no good reason" except that they damn well don't want to. perhaps we have found the ghost in the machine.

Nice question. Yes, there are more reasons than the Harvard Law to not like "reflexes", but I hadn't thought of the issue quite that way. Can work on it together. Reflexes tend to make one think of simple paths through the nervous system, rather than, as we'll see even more of, distributed processing systems with important parallel and recurrent pathes. That a beginning? Along which lines, pulling foot back requires MUCH more than a sensory neuron connected to a motor neuron, for reasons we'll come to (LOTS of muscles, need to be active in right pattern). But yes, groups of neurons can indeed work independently of other boxes. Whether they exhbit, at that level, the Harvard Law is another very interesting question, one we're actually doing some experiments on. No simple answer, but individual neurons do indeed exhibit "noise". And yes, I think that is an important part of finding the ghost in the machine. A PART. PG