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K. Smythe's picture

Choice, reaction, and their relation to the I-function

I found our discussion of choice vs. reaction and the relation of these to the I-function really interesting.  I think that distinguishing between choice and reaction is really difficult, borderline impossible from an outside perspective.  I like to think of my own decisions as choice because I am the one who "chooses" and associatively I believe that other humans like me feel the same.  However, to try and be totally subjective if I were studying human behavior I’m sure it would be possible for me to find complex patterns and call what we think of as decisions reactions.  We call them decisions because we see all the alternatives and “weight” the outcomes in our own subjective minds.  I’m not sure whether I think the I-function is necessary for one to make a choice (versus a reaction) however I am also not entirely clear how to define and distinguish the two.  Couldn’t the I-function, or more precisely the need for the I-function to make “choices” actually be a more primitive, less evolved mechanism?  One could argue that the I-function is simply a complicating factor, and that it is in fact not essential for the decision making process but may even hinder or complicate it with irrationalities or randomness.  Wouldn’t it be evolutionarily smarter to simply “react” as reaction implies an evolutionarily adaptive action?  Couldn’t the I-function simply be a complicating factor that we have yet to remove from the decision making process but which other organisms have done away with in order to streamline the mechanism by which decisions or reactions are made/occur?



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