Trying to cross the thread’s of Jim’s dialogue with Derb and with myself, I’m going to wade in:

I don’t think Derb would disagree with me that the analogy to bees is a poor one, or that there is something mysterious about human consciousness. (He’s an avowed mysterian after all.) The bee lacks moral agency because we don’t believe a bee has sufficient consciousness to have a self, much less a self-as-moral-agent. A number of more advanced mammals may indeed have some degree of moral agency; it’s hard to know for sure. In any event, animals like dogs respond to discipline in a way that suggests a conscious awareness of wrongdoing.

So: If you don’t disagree that we feel we have moral agency, and you don’t disagree that we will continue to feel we have moral agency even if science is casting doubt on the “folk narrative” of human decisionmaking, then what’s the problem in talking as if we have moral agency? We talk about matter being solid even though it’s mostly empty space. Mental states are real enough to be studied; that’s real enough for me.

Crude behaviorism is, at this point, a scientific dead letter. We still can’t build a machine that passes the Turing Test, and there are very good arguments out there that we can’t (that, in other words, the human brain is not a Von Neumann machine), arguments that I don’t believe Derb rejects. There is kind of deep mystery at the heart of human consciousness – and we all agree that this mystery is a fit subject for scientific investigation. So what is the argument here? If you’re not positing supernatural causes, then you’re left with natural causes. Those would be: genetics, environment, and some as-yet-undiscovered psychic equivalent of aether. I don’t think either Derb or I have rejected any of these. What else is on the table?