The central claim of computationalism is generally taken to be that the brain is a computer, and that any computer implementing the appropriate program would ipso facto have a mind. In this paper I argue for the following propositions: (1) The central claim of computationalism is not about computers, a concept too imprecise for a scientific claim of this sort, but is about physical calculi (instantiated discrete formal systems). (2) In matters of formality, interpretability, and so forth, analog computation and (...) digital computation are not essentially different, and so arguments such as Searle''s hold or not as well for one as for the other. (3) Whether or not a biological system (such as the brain) is computational is a scientific matter of fact. (4) A substantive scientific question for cognitive science is whether cognition is better modeled by discrete representations or by continuous representations. (5) Cognitive science and AI need a theoretical construct that is the continuous analog of a calculus. The discussion of these propositions will illuminate several terminology traps, in which it''s all too easy to become ensnared. (shrink)
The ‘hard problem’ is hard because of the special epistemological status of consciousness, which does not, however, preclude its scientific investigation. Data from phenomenologically trained observers can be combined with neurological investigations to establish the relation between experience and neurodynamics. Although experience cannot be reduced to physical phenomena, parallel phenomenological and neurological analyses allow the structure of experience to be related to the structure of the brain. Such an analysis suggests a theoretical entity, an elementary unit of experience, the protophenomenon, (...) which corresponds to an activity site in the brain. The structure of experience is determined by connections between these activity sites; the connections correspond to temporal patterns among the elementary units of experience, which can be expressed mathematically. This theoretical framework illuminates several issues, including degrees of consciousness, nonbiological consciousness, sensory inversions, unity of consciousness and the unconscious mind. (shrink)
A revitalized practice of natural philosophy can help people to live a better life and promote a flourishing ecosystem. Such a philosophy is natural in two senses. First, it is natural by seeking to understand the whole of nature, including mental phenomena. Thus, a comprehensive natural philosophy should address the phenomena of sentience by embracing first- and second-person methods of investigation. Moreover, to expand our understanding of the world, natural philosophy should embrace a full panoply of explanations, similar to Aristotle’s (...) four causes. Second, such a philosophy is natural by being grounded in human nature, taking full account of human capacities and limitations. Future natural philosophers should also make use of all human capacities, including emotion and intuition, as well as reason and perception, to investigate nature. Finally, since the majority of our brain’s activities are unconscious, natural philosophy should explore the unconscious mind with the aim of deepening our relation with the rest of nature and of enhancing well-being. (shrink)
The principal problem of consciousness is how brain processes cause subjective awareness. Since this problem involves subjectivity, ordinary scientific methods, applicable only to objective phenomena, cannot be used. Instead, by parallel application of phenomenological and scientific methods, we may establish a correspondence between the subjective and the objective. This correspondence is effected by the construction of a theoretical entity, essentially an elementary unit of consciousness, the intensity of which corresponds to electrochemical activity in a synapse. Dendritic networks correspond to causal (...) dependencies between these subjective units. Therefore, the structure of conscious experience is derived from synaptic connectivity. This parallel phenomenal/neural analysis provides a framework for the investigation of a number of problems, including sensory inversions, the unity of consciousness, and the nature of nonhuman consciousness. (shrink)
Hypatia was the most famous female spiritual teacher of ancient Alexandria. The mix of classical philosophies she taught to Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the fourth century CE forms the very foundation of Western magic and mysticism as we know it today. The Wisdom of Hypatia offers a progressive, nine month programme based on the teachings of this inspiring Pagan philosopher. Discover how to bring purpose, tranquillity, and spiritual depth to your life through exercises and techniques divided into three stages (...) of wisdom: Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Neoplatonism. This virtual course in philosophy, well-being, and divine union is an essential and practical introduction to the ancient wisdom of the West. (shrink)
Based on results from evolutionary psychology, we discuss important functions that can be served by consciousness in autonomous robots. These include deliberately controlled action, conscious awareness, self-awareness, metacognition, and ego consciousness. We distinguish intrinsic intentionality from consciousness, but argue it is also important to understanding robot cognition. Finally, we explore the Hard Problem for robots from the perspective of the theory of protophenomena.
The worldview emerging from neurophenomenology is consistent with the phenomenological insights obtained by Neoplatonic theurgical operations. For example, gods and daimons are phenomenologically equivalent to the archetypes and complexes investigated in Jungian psychology and explicated by evolutionary psychology. Jung understood the unconscious mind and physical reality to have a common root in an unus mundus. Parallel reductions in the phenomenological and neurological domain imply elementary constituents of consciousness associated with simple physical systems, that is, natural processes experienced both externally and (...) internally. Analysis reveals they have both an eternal formal structure and a material substrate that allows the formal structure to evolve in time with both phenomenal and physical aspects. Since all physical processes fit this description, a form of panpsychism is implied. These developments can inform our understanding of the Forms, the World Soul, and individual souls in Neoplatonism. (shrink)
En s’appuyant sur les résultats de la psychologie évolutionniste, nous examinons les différentes fonctions importantes que puisse remplir la conscience dans les robots autonomes : action contrôlée, prise de conscience, conscience de soi, métacognition, conscience du moi. Nous distinguons l’intentionnalité intrinsèque de la conscience, mais soutenons également l’importance de la compréhension de la cognition robotique. Enfin, nous étudions le « Hard Problem » concernant les robots, c’est-à-dire la question de savoir s’ils peuvent connaître une prise de conscience subjective, dans une (...) perspective de la théorie du protophénomène. (shrink)
For all animals, color is an indicator of the substance and state of objects, for which purpose reflectance is just one among many relevant optical properties. This broader meaning of color is confirmed by linguistic evidence. Rather than reducing color to a simple physical property, it is more realistic to embrace its full phenomenology.
The central claim of computationalism is generally taken to be that the brain is a computer, and that any computer implementing the appropriate program would ipso facto have a mind. In this paper I argue for the following propositions: (1) The central claim of computationalism is not about computers, a concept too imprecise for a scienti c claim of this sort, but is about physical calculi (instantiated discrete formal systems). (2) In matters of formality, interpretability, and so forth, analog computation (...) and digital computation are not essentially di erent, and so arguments such as Searle's hold or not as well for one as for the other. (3) Whether or not a biological system (such as the brain) is computational is a scienti c matter of fact. (4) A substantive scienti c question for cognitive science is whether cognition is better modeled by discrete representations or by continuous representations. (5) Cognitive science and AI need a theoretical construct that is the continuous analog of a calculus. The discussion of these propositions will illuminate several terminology traps, in which it's all too easy to become ensnared. (shrink)
Ausgehend von Erkenntnissen der Evolutionären Psychologie untersucht dieser Beitrag wichtige Funktionen, die das Bewusstsein autonomer Roboter ausfüllen kann. Gemeint sind willkürlich kontrolliertes Handeln, bewusstes Wahrnehmen, Eigenwahrnehmung, Metaerkenntnis sowie Bewusstsein des eigenen Selbst. Der Verfasser unterscheidet zwischen intrinsischer Intentionalität und Bewusstsein, führt jedoch das Argument ins Feld, dass es ebenso wichtig sei, die Erkenntnisweise eines Roboters zu verstehen. Abschließend wird, aus dem Blickwinkel der Theorie von den Protophänomenen, das für Roboter „schwierige Problem” untersucht, d.h. die Frage, ob sie zu subjektiver Wahrnehmung (...) fähig sind. (shrink)
Use of quantum probability as a top-down model of cognition will be enhanced by consideration of the underlying complex-valued wave function, which allows a better account of interference effects and of the structure of learned and ad hoc question operators. Furthermore, the treatment of incompatible questions can be made more quantitative by analyzing them as non-commutative operators.
The issue of symbol grounding is not essentially different in analog and digital computation. The principal difference between the two is that in analog computers continuous variables change continuously, whereas in digital computers discrete variables change in discrete steps (at the relevant level of analysis). Interpretations are imposed on analog computations just as on digital computations: by attaching meanings to the variables and the processes defined over them. As Harnad (2001) claims, states acquire intrinsic meaning through their relation to the (...) real (physical) environment, for example, through transduction. However, this is independent of the question of the continuity or discreteness of the variables or the transduction processes. (shrink)
I discuss neuroscientific and phenomenological arguments in support of Millikan's thesis. I then consider invariance as a unifying theme in perceptual and conceptual tracking, and how invariants may be extracted from the environment. Finally, some wider implications of Millikan's nondescriptionist approach to language are presented, with specific application to color terms.