Main Question or Discussion Point
Which theory of mind do you like best?
Please provide an explanation.
Please provide an explanation.
I've grown quite convinced over the past years mind is an emergent property of collective neural dynamics and therefore quite possibly can be duplicated by equivalent synthetic means. I've gradually come to this conclusion, an emergent systhesis in itself, by considerations of biological evolution, neural physiology, self-organization and compexity, and the generally massively non-linear dynamical world I see when I look outside of my window.pivoxa15 said:Which theory of mind do you like best?
Please provide an explanation.
That is also my own personal view too. I think that different animals have different degrees of minds. So the closest species to ours, the chimps have a brain that is not way different from ours so they have a certain level of mind which is much primitive compared to ours but much more complex than a fish. The mind of a fish would be extremely 'faint' but still possess some kind of mind.saltydog said:I've grown quite convinced over the past years mind is an emergent property of collective neural dynamics and therefore quite possibly can be duplicated by equivalent synthetic means. I've gradually come to this conclusion, an emergent systhesis in itself, by considerations of biological evolution, neural physiology, self-organization and compexity, and the generally massivelly non-linear dynamical world I see when I look outside of my window.
.Antonio DAMASIO said:How do we ever know that we are seeing a given object? How do we become conscious in the full sense of the word? How is the sense of self in the act of knowing implanted in the mind? The way into a possible answer for the questions on self came only after I began seeing the problem of consciousness in terms of two key players, the organism and the object, and in terms of the relationships those players hold in the course of their natural interactions. The organism in question is that within which consciousness occurs; the object in question is any object that gets to be known in the consciousness process; and the relationships between organism and object are the contents of the knowledge we call consciousness. Seen in this perspective, consciousness consists of constructing knowledge about two facts: that the organism is involved in relating to some object, and that the object in the relation causes a change in the organism.
The new perspective also makes the biological realization of consciousness a treatable problem. The process of knowledge construction requires a brain, and it requires the signaling properties with which brains can assemble neural patterns and form images. The neural patterns and images necessary for consciousness to occur are those which constitute proxies for the organism, for the object, and for the relationship between the two. Placed in this framework, understanding the biology of consciousness becomes a matter of discovering how the brain can map both the two players and the relationships they hold.
The general problem of representing the object is not especially enigmatic. Extensive studies of perception, learning and memory, and language have given us a workable idea of how the brain processes an object, in sensory and motor terms, and an idea of how knowledge about an object can be stored in memory, categorized in conceptual or linguistic terms, and retrieved in recall or recognition modes. The neurophysiologic details of these processes have not been worked out, but the contours of these problems are understandable. From my perspective, neuroscience has been dedicating most of its efforts to understanding the neural basis of what I see as the “object proxy.” In the relationship play of consciousness, the object is exhibited in the form of neural patterns in the sensory cortices appropriate to map its characteristics. For example, in the case of the visual aspects of an object, the neural patterns are constructed in a variety of regions of the visual cortices, not just one or two, but many, working in concerted fashion to map the varied aspects of the object in visual terms. (For an account of how the visual system achieves such object representations see David Hubel’s Eye, Brain, and Vision; 1988 and Semir Zeki’s A Vision of the Brain 1993.) On the side of the organism, however, matters are quite different. To indicate how different matters are, let me suggest an exercise.
Look up from the page, at whatever is directly in front of you, observe intently, and then return to the page. As you did so, the many stations of your visual system, from the retinas to several regions of the brain’s cerebral cortex, shifted rapidly from mapping the book’s page, to mapping the room in front of you, to mapping the page again. Now turn around 180 degrees and look at what is behind you. Again, mapping of the page vanished swiftly so that the visual system could map the new scene you were contemplating. The moral of the story: In quick succession, precisely the same brain regions constructed several entirely different maps by virtue of the different motor settings the organism assumed and of the different sensory inputs the organism gathered. The image constructed in the brain’s multiplex screens changed remarkably.
Now consider this: While your visual system changed dutifully at the mercy of the objects it mapped, a number of regions in your brain whose job it is to regulate the life process and which contain preset maps that represent varied aspects of your body did not change at all in terms of the kind of object they represented. The body remained the “object” all along and will remain so until death ensues. But not only was the kind of object precisely the same; the degree of change occurring in the object – the body – was quite small. Why was that so? Because only a narrow range of body states is compatible with life, and the organism is genetically designed to maintain that narrow range and equipped to seek it, through thick and through thin.
What we have in this situation, then, is an intriguing asymmetry that may be phrased in the following terms: Some parts of the brain are free to roam over the world and in so doing are free to map whatever object the organism’s design permits them to map. On the other hand, some other parts of the brain, those that represent the organism’s own state, are not free to roam at all. They are stuck. They can map nothing but the body and do so within largely preset maps. They are the body’s captive audience, and they are at the mercy of the body’s dynamic sameness.
There are several reasons behind this asymmetry. First, the composition and general functions of the living body remain the same, in terms of their quality, across a lifetime. Second, the body changes that continuously do occur are small, in terms of their quantity. They have a narrow dynamic range because the body must operate with a limited range of parameters if it is to survive; the body’s internal state must be relatively stable by comparison to the environment surrounding it. Third, that stable state is governed from the brain by means of an elaborate neural machinery designed to detect minimal variations in the parameters of the body’s internal chemical profile and to command actions aimed at correcting the detected variations, directly or indirectly. (I will address the neuroanatomy of this system in Chapter 5. The system is made up of not one but many units, the most important of which are located in the brain stem, hypothalamus, and basal forebain sections of the brain.) In short, the organism in the relationship play of consciousness is the entire unit of our living being, our body as it were; and yet, as it turns out, the part of the organism called the brain holds within it a sort of model of the whole thing. This is a strange, overlooked and noteworthy fact, and is perhaps the single most important clue as to the possible underpinning of consciousness.
I have come to conclude that the organism, as represented inside its own brain, is a likely biological forerunner for what eventually becomes the elusive sense of self. The deep roots for the self, including the elaborate self which encompasses identity and personhood, are to be found in the ensemble of brain devices which continuously and nonconsciously maintain the body state within the narrow range and relative stability required for survival. These devices continually represent, nonconsciously, the state of the living body, along with its many dimensions. I call the state of activity within the ensemble of such devices the proto-self, the nonconscious forerunner for the levels of self which appear in our minds as the conscious protagonists of consciousness: core self and autobiographical self.
Should some readers get worried at this point that I am falling into the abyss of the homunculus trap, let me say immediately and vehemently that this is not the case. The “model of the body-in-the-brain” to which I am referring is nothing at all like the rigid homunculus creature of old-fashioned neurology textbooks. Nothing in it looks like a little person inside a big person; the model “perceives” nothing and “knows” nothing; it does not talk and it does not make consciousness. The model is, instead, a collection of brain devices whose main job is the automated management of the organism’s life. As we shall discuss, the management of life is achieved by a variety of innately set regulatory actions – secretion of chemical substances such as hormones as well as actual movements in viscera and in limbs. The deployment of these actions depends on the information provided by nearby neural maps which signal, moment by moment, the state of the entire organism. Most importantly, neither the life-regulating devices nor their body maps are the generators of consciousness, although their presence is indispensable for the mechanisms that do achieve core consciousness.
This is the key issue, as argued in Chapter 5: In the relationship play of consciousness, the organism is represented in the brain, abundantly and multifariously, and that representyation is tied to the maintenance of the life process. If this idea is correct, life and consciousness, specifically the self aspect of consciousness, are indelibly interwoven
He did say "ensemble of brain devices". I take that to mean "collective". Now, would the "individual" devices separated from one another still constitute self? I don't believe they would. If this is true, wish I could ask him, then I must assume he means the self is somehow constructed from the interractions of all the parts. He mentions, "the state of activity within the ensemble of devices". This to me means "global behavior arising from the activity of its parts". Does it not? If so, can this not be interpreted as "emergent property"?The deep roots for the self, including the elaborate self which encompasses identity and personhood, are to be found in the ensemble of brain devices which continuously and nonconsciously maintain the body state within the narrow range and relative stability required for survival. These devices continually represent, nonconsciously, the state of the living body, along with its many dimensions. I call the state of activity within the ensemble of such devices the proto-self, the nonconscious forerunner for the levels of self which appear in our minds as the conscious protagonists of consciousness: core self and autobiographical self.
Which school of thought do you subscribe to? Strict identity theory or functionalism?saltydog said:I've grown quite convinced over the past years mind is an emergent property of collective neural dynamics and therefore quite possibly can be duplicated by equivalent synthetic means. I've gradually come to this conclusion, an emergent systhesis in itself, by considerations of biological evolution, neural physiology, self-organization and compexity, and the generally massively non-linear dynamical world I see when I look outside of my window.
At first thought, our thoughts and dreams seem to be a nonmaterialistic world. But physical theory cannot account for this. So this nonmaterialistic world is merely a result of processes of our brian.somasimple said:Have we any proof that an nonmaterialistic world exists?
The voice we hear over our telephone is not inside the telephone. The concert we hear over our radio is transmitted to our radio. The images and music we hear and see on TV are transmitted to our TV set. The internet is not located inside our laptop. We can receive what is transmitted with the speed of light from a distance of some hundreds or thousands of miles. And if we switch off the TV set, the reception disappears, but the transmission continues. The information transmitted remains present within the electromagnetic fields. The connection has been interrupted, but it has not vanished and can still be received elsewhere by using another TV set (“non-locality”).
Could our brain be compared to the TV set, which receives electromagnetic waves and transforms them into image and sound, as well as to the TV camera, which transforms image and sound into electromagnetic waves? This electromagnetic radiation holds the essence of all information, but is only perceivable by our senses through suitable instruments like camera and TV set.
The informational fields of our consciousness and of our memories, both evolving during our lifetime by our experiences and by the informational input from our sense organs, are present around us,and become available to our waking consciousness only through our functioning brain (and other cells of our body) in the shape of electromagnetic fields. As soon as the function of the brain has been lost, as in clinical death or brain death, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the receptivity is lost, the connection is interrupted.
Hey Pivoxal. I'm not familar with the terms although I've read what you said above. I think you and I both believe mind emerges. I'm not sure what brain researchers believe however.pivoxa15 said:Which school of thought do you subscribe to? Strict identity theory or functionalism?
Yes,But how do you account for the multiple realisability objection which I described as a big problem in post 10?