A reasonable model to describe reasons, simplified
In June I started the Daily Logs of Arch’s in hopes that I’d be disciplined enough to write on a daily basis. A few days after its inception I took a long break from it and eventually decided to abandon the whole idea. Surely taking blogging as a hobby and putting down words every day sounds wondrous. But from experience I’m aware that I’m far from being a good writer. I struggle to write. Often, after I have something written, it would have to be edited myriad times before I consider it presentable. If life is an optimization problem and finding a solution constitutes of how one lives her or his life, let my life be an instance of it, and an efficient algorithm to an optimal solution in this case certainly would not consist of attempting to master the art of writing. I’d be better off trying to become a mathematician cum computer scientist (which is what I’m pursuing at the moment) since I am the type of anthropic machines that are good at deconstructing thoughts but can hardly remember anything which I have little interest in, and despite the sometimes confusing terminology and not-so-reader-friendly texts that I’ve now and then encountered, I’m glad that CS and maths are becoming an enormous part of my daily life.
When I don’t see good reasons in doing something, I tend not to do it. That being said, I agree I don’t always behave in such manner, and the same goes to other anthropic machines. Furthermore, even when there are good reasons to do something, we may not do it. Our actions are not entirely reasons-driven.
Let’s define a mental representation to be a mental construct that demonstrates some relationship between different mental representations. We refer to a mental representation as a reason when a consequential relationship is established between it and another mental representation (where the former is the “cause” while the later is the “result”).
Essentially a reason is just a description to account for the ‘why’ of some mental relationship.
In the case of actions, reasons are not the direct cause of them.
Neurotransmissions occurring at a much lower abstraction layer, as a result of the overall relations between mental representations, are what is truly responsible for our actions. That is to say, according to this model, the attributive relationships gradually established between blogging on a daily basis and the states of being time consuming, and not important, together with some other mental relations, are the true causes of the favoring of doing something else over blogging consecutively each day, and eventually the writing of this short essay you are reading.
No matter how good our mind is at simulating a part of reality and describing things, there is always a gap between the state of mind described by the mind, and the actual state of mind which comprises every mental process including its attempt to describe itself and its attempt to describe how it attempts to describe itself. When it comes to our own actions, there is always a discrepancy between the reasons we come up with and the actual causes.
Nonetheless, reasons appear to have a huge impact on the way mental relationships are constructed, transformed and demolished. They evoke emotions, draw connections and implications (connective and implicational relationships between mental representations), and most importantly, bring forth the notion of logic and make us rational creatures. The ability to reason, or in other words, the ability to construct consequential relationships, is crucial in the development of an intelligent entity. It is reasonably the essence of intelligence.