Consciousness

A little time ago I wrote a piece “Consciousness: a conjecture“. Since then there have been numerous articles in New Scientist which I thought converged on what I had been thinking. I decided to do a bit of background reading and come across the following, which rather put me in my place!

I frequently receive lengthy, unsolicited cogitations in the mail – densely scribbled manuscripts with the promise of more to come, self-published books, or links to extensive Web pages – concerning the ultimate answers to life and consciousness. My attitude to these outpourings is that unless they respect hard-won neurologic and scientific knowledge, they are destined for the constatly growing X-file sitting in a dusty corner of my office.

Christof Koch, Consciousness p 58

Quite right!

Elsewhere in this site I use the term Mind Universe, an idea that recursively exists only in my Mind-Universe. The idea that other people have their own Mind-Universes is a conjecture in my mind.

I suggested that Mind-Universes are, by definition, outside the scope of science. In anybodies Mind-Universe there can only be one observer and reports from that single observer should be classified at best as “Conjectures” and as such of very little interest to science.

However, if a number of such Conjectures seem to converge on the same idea, then this could, possibly, become a Hypothesise and potentially worthy of scientific study.

My page seems to be in line with current thinking. Graziano’s Attention Schema looks very like what I had in mind as a “perception process”, and the idea that consciousness involves iteration around a loop of Attention Schemas, essentially a recursion (like that Escher print of two hands each drawing the other). According to Doug Hofstader this can result in a “strange loop” that can behave chaotically. The important conclusion is that the mechanism of consciousness can be chaotic and therefore non-deterministic.

There seems to be a common view that more than one and probably at least three, brain centres are involved. These are discussed by Koch and Graziano in some detail.

There is considerable discussion by the two above authors and Wegner and Gray about the so called “hard problem” of consciousness of which, my perceptions exist only in my Mind-Universe and outside the scope of science!

M S A Graziano, Rethinking Consciousness, Norton 2019

C Koch, Consciousness, MIT Press, 2017

D M Wegner & K Gray, The Mind Club, Penguin Books 2016

Being Me is some observations I make on “Being You” by Anil Seth