overview: Consciousness cannot be simply reduced to neural activity, researchers say. New research reports that the dynamics of consciousness may be understood through newly developed conceptual and mathematical frameworks.
sauce: Bar-Ilan University
How does 1.4 kg of brain tissue create thoughts, emotions, mental images and inner worlds?
The brain’s ability to create consciousness has puzzled some people for thousands of years. The mystery of consciousness lies in the fact that each of us has subjectivity.
In contrast to deep anesthesia and dreamless sleep, while awake you are not “dwelling in darkness” but experiencing the world and yourself. However, how the brain produces conscious experiences and which areas of the brain are responsible for this remains a mystery.
According to Dr. Nil Lahav, a physicist at the University of Bar-Ilan in Israel, “Because our conscious experiences do not seem to arise from the brain, indeed from physical processes. , which is very enigmatic.”
Strange as it may sound, conscious experiences in our brain cannot be discovered or reduced to any neural activity.
Dr. Zakaria Neeme, a philosopher at the University of Memphis, said: This neural pattern perfectly correlates with my conscious sense of well-being, but it is not my actual feeling. It is just a neural pattern that represents my happiness. That’s why scientists need to look at my brain to see this pattern and ask me what I’m feeling. That’s because patterns are just expressions, not emotions themselves. ”
As a result, the conscious experiences of what we feel, feel, and think cannot be reduced to brain activity.
Over 100 years of neuroscientific research have provided remarkably good evidence that the brain is involved in creating our conscious abilities. How is it that it is nowhere to be seen and cannot be reduced to the activity of neural complexes?
This mystery is known as the hard problem of consciousness. It is a very difficult problem, and until a few decades ago it was only discussed by philosophers. Even today, we have made great strides in understanding the neuroscientific underpinnings of consciousness, but we still do not have an adequate theory to explain what consciousness is and how it is done. to solve this difficult problem.
Dr. Lahav and Dr. Neemeh recently published a new physics theory in a journal. the forefront of psychology It claims to solve the difficult problem of consciousness in a purely physical way.
According to the author, if we change our assumptions about consciousness and assume that it is a relativistic phenomenon, the mystery of consciousness is naturally resolved. In this paper, researchers developed a conceptual and mathematical framework for understanding consciousness from a relativistic perspective.
According to the paper’s lead author, Dr. Rahab, “Consciousness should be investigated using the same mathematical tools that physicists use for other known relativistic phenomena.”
To understand how relativity solves difficult problems, consider another relativistic phenomenon, constant velocity. Let’s choose her two observers, Alice and Bob. Bob is on a train moving at a constant speed, and Alice is watching him from the platform. There is no absolute physical answer to the question of what Bob’s speed is.
The answer depends on the observer’s frame of reference.
From Bob’s frame of reference, he measures that he is stationary and Alice is retreating with the rest of the world. However, from Alice’s frame, it is Bob who is moving and she is stationary.
They have opposite measurements, but both are correct, just with different frames of reference.
The same situation can be seen in the case of consciousness, since, according to theory, consciousness is a relativistic phenomenon.
Alice and Bob are now in different cognitive frames. Bob measures that he has conscious experience, while Alice has only brain activity with no indication of actual conscious experience.
As with velocity, there are opposing measures, both correct but from different cognitive frames.
As a result, from a relativistic point of view, there is no problem with the fact that we measure different properties from different frames of reference.
The fact that we cannot find actual conscious experience when measuring brain activity is because we are measuring from the wrong cognitive frame.
According to a new theory, the brain does not create our conscious experiences, at least through computation. The reason we have conscious experiences is through the process of physical measurement.
Simply put, different physical measurements in different reference frames measure the same phenomenon in these reference frames, but exhibit different physical properties in these reference frames.
For example, Bob measures Alice’s brain in the lab while she is happy. They observe different properties, but actually measure the same phenomenon from different perspectives. Due to the different types of measurements, different types of traits are revealed in cognitive frames of reference.
In order for Bob to observe brain activity in the lab, he must use measurements of sensory organs such as the eyes. This type of sensory measurement reveals neurons, the substrates that drive activity in the brain.
As a result, in his cognitive frame, Alice has only neural activity that represents her consciousness, but no indication of the actual conscious experience itself. To do so, she uses a different kind of measurement. She does not use sensory organs and directly measures neural representations by interactions between one part of the brain and another. She measures her own neural representation according to its relationship to other neural representations.
This is a very different measurement than what our sensory systems do, and as a result this kind of direct measurement shows a different kind of physical property. I’m in.
Consequently, from her cognitive frame of reference, Alice measures her neural activity as a conscious experience.
If we can use mathematical tools that describe relativistic phenomena in physics to change the dynamics of Bob’s neural activity to be like Alice’s, then both are in the same cognitive frame of reference and the other exactly the same conscious experience as
Now, the authors would like to continue investigating the exact minimum measurements required for cognitive systems to produce consciousness.
The implications of such a theory are huge. Which animals were the first animals to be conscious in evolution, when fetuses and babies became conscious, which patients with impaired consciousness are conscious, and which AI systems already have low levels of consciousness today. Can be applied to determine if it has (if any). any) consciousness.
About this Consciousness and Physics Research News
author: Elana Overlander
sauce: Bar-Ilan University
contact: Elana Oberlander – Bar-Ilan University
image: image is public domain
Original research: open access.
“A Relativistic Theory of Consciousness” by Nir Lahav et al. the forefront of psychology
Relativistic Theory of Consciousness
In recent decades, the scientific study of consciousness has greatly improved our understanding of this elusive phenomenon. However, despite great progress in understanding the functional aspects of consciousness, fundamental theories about its phenomenal aspects are still lacking.
There is an “explanatory gap” between our scientific knowledge of functional consciousness and its “subjective” and phenomenal aspects, called the “hard problem” of consciousness. The astounding aspect of consciousness is the first-person answer to the question “what is it like?”, and so far scientific investigation has proven difficult to direct.
Naturalistic dualists argue that it is composed of elements of primordial, private, and irreducible reality that are independent of the functional and physical aspects of consciousness. It is a mere cognitive illusion and claims that what exists is ultimately physical and non-phenomenal properties.
We argue that both dualist and illusionist positions are flawed. This is because they implicitly assume that consciousness is an absolute property that does not depend on the observer.
Develop a conceptual and mathematical argument for relativistic consciousness theory of whether systems have or do not have astounding consciousness Regarding an observer.
Amazing consciousness is neither private nor delusional, it is simply relativistic. In the cognitive system’s frame of reference, it is observable (first-person view) and in other frames of reference it is not (third-person view). Both of these two perceptual frames of reference are correct, as is the case for an observer claiming to be stationary, while another observer claims to have constant velocity.
Given that consciousness is a relativistic phenomenon, neither observer’s position is privileged. Based on the relativistic phenomena of physics, we have developed a mathematical formalization of consciousness that fills the gaps in explanation and solves difficult problems.
Given that first-person cognitive frameworks also provide valid observations about consciousness, philosophers argue that by collaborating with neuroscientists to explore the neural underpinnings of phenomenal structures, philosophers can make valuable contributions to the science of consciousness. conclude by