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Consciousness in the brain

18 November, 2015 - 17:13
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Wallace, Dr. Rodrick (2011) sums up an argument by Atlan and Cohen (1998) about how information systems work in the mind:

  • Atlan and Cohen (1998) argue, in the context of a cognitive paradigm for the immune system, that the essence of cognitive function involves comparison of a perceived signal with an internal, learned or inherited picture of the world, and then, upon that comparison, choice of one response from a much larger reper- toire of possible responses. That is, cognitive pattern recognition-and- response proceeds by an algorithmic combination of an incoming external sensory sig- nal with an internal ongoing activity { incorporating the internalized picture of the world { and triggering an appropriate action based on a decision that the pattern of sensory activity requires a response.

When someone sees something does it 'require a response'? Seeing another human being might require a response, but what about biological or neural responses? What objects trigger which responses? Are there sets of 'brain wirings' that sort out different activities? Here Wallace cites a model - (Baars, 2005):

  • is clear that different challenges facing a conscious entity must be met be diferent arrangements of basic cognitive faculties. It is now possible to make a very abstract picture of the brain, not based on its anatomy, but rather on the linkages between the information sources dual to the basic physiological and learned unconscious cognitive modules (UCM) that form Baars' global workspace/global broadcast. That is, the remapped brain network is reexpressed in terms of the information sources dual to the UCM. Given two distinct problems classes (e.g., playing tennis vs. interacting with a significant other), there must be two different `wirings' of the information sources dual to the physiological UCM,

It is fairly obvious that there are different ways of responding to the world - social, emotional, intellectual, etc. - but the important question is: what are the similar ways in which different aspects of the world cause similar or different feelings? That way you could say - this is that are grouped in the mind because they have the same feeling (physical) response. Or is there "no room in any model for feeling" (Harnad, Stevan (2011))? I could use a emotional / intellectual division of world responses. While intellectually thoughts may cause feeling, it makes more sense that the mind is divided into emotional groupings not intellectual ones. That is because thoughts trigger feelings - a feeling can cause someone to have a thought, but that is only because you realized you had that feeling or it motivated you in certain way (while thoughts cause feelings directly). So it isn't someone's knowledge that causes feelings, I think the mind works by a more simple division of the world and biological responses - simple emotional groupings. That makes sense since humans evolved from lesser animals where that is more obvious. When an ape interacts with his friends, the emotion he feels is a simple one that derived from simple aspects of the world and the interaction he in engaged in. So while simple feelings might be the logical result of their corresponding thoughts, deeper emotional aspects of the mind are probably simple responses to the persons environment i.e., you went to a movie so you feel happy, etc. So my theory is basically only a few emotions are the end result of all our activities, and from these basic emotions more complex intellectual responses can be formed. Harnad, Stevan (2011) seems to feel that humans have little room for feeling in their intellectual responses:

  • And perhaps it is indeed not worth fretting about the fact that, at the end of the day, the successful total explanation of our know‐how will always be equally compatible with the presence or the absence of feeling. For unless we are prepared to be telekinetic dualists, according a separate, unique causal power to feeling itself (“mind over matter” ) ‐‐ for which there is no evidence, only overwhelming evidence against it – there is no causal room in any model for feeling. Yet, although it may be an illusion that some of the things I do, I do because I feel like it, it is certainly not an illusion that it feels like some of the things I do, I do because I feel like it. And that feeling is as real as the feeling that I have a toothache even when I don’t have a tooth.