Saturday, May 04, 2013

Comparison of TGD Inspired Theory of Consciousness with Some Other Theories of Consciousness

Reading of two highly inspiring books led to a new chapter summing up the vision behind TGD inspired theory of consciousness and also generating some new ideas. The first book "On intelligence" is by Jeff Hawkins. The second book "Consciousness: the science of subjectivity" is by Antti Revonsuo. Below is the abstract of the new chapter.

Jeff Hawkins has developed a highly interesting and inspiring vision about neo-cortex, one of the few serious attempts to build a unified view about what brain does and how it does it. Since key ideas of Hawkins have quantum analogs in TGD framework, there is high motivation for developing a quantum variant of this vision. The vision of Hawkins is very general in the sense that all parts of neo-cortex would run the same fundamental algorithm, which is essentially checking whether the sensory input can be interpreted in terms of standard mental images stored as memories. This process occurs at several abstraction levels and involve massive feedback. If it succeeds at all these levels the sensory input is fully understood.

TGD suggests a generalization of this process. Quantum jump defining moment of consciousness would be the fundamental algorithm realized in all scales defining an abstraction hierarchy. Negentropy Maximization Principle (NMP) would be the variational principle driving this process and in optimal case lead to an experience of understanding at all levels of the scale hierarchy realized in terms of generation of negentropic entanglement. The analogy of NMP with second law suggests strongly thermodynamical analogy and p-adic thermodynamics used in particle mass calculations might be also seen as effective thermodynamics assignable to NMP.

In the following I will first discuss the ideas of Hawkins and then summarize some relevant aspects of quantum TGD and TGD inspired theory of consciousness briefly in the hope that this could make representation comprehensible for the reader having no background in TGD (I hope I have achieved this). The representation involves some new elements: reduction of the old idea about motor action as time reversal of sensory perception to the anatomy of quantum jump in zero energy ontology (ZEO); interaction free measurement for photons and photons as a non-destructive reading mechanism of memories and future plans (time reversed memories) represented 4-dimensionally as negentropically entangled states approximately invariant under quantum jumps (this resolves a basic objection against identifying quantum jump as moment of consciousness) leading to the identification of analogs of imagination and internal speech as fundamental elements of cognition; and a more detailed quantum model for association and abstraction processes.

I will also compare various theories and philosophies of consciousness with TGD approach following the beautifully organized representation of Revonsuo. Also anomalies of consciousness are briefly discussed. My hope is that this comparison would make explicit that TGD based ontology of consciousness indeed circumvents the difficulties against monistic and dualistic approaches and also survives the basic objections that I have been able to invent hitherto.

For details see the new chapter Comparison of TGD Inspired Theory of Consciousness with Some Other Theories of Consciousness or the article with the same title.


At 6:23 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous ◘Fractality◘ said...

“First, it doesn’t make sense to talk about reality without an observer. Mind is the foundation of matter, reality itself has the structure of a dream, and objective reality is an illusion created by an agreement among many dreamers to dream the same thing. Every time we look in a direction that has never been looked in before, we are creating what we find there, and at the beginning our observations will be wild or inconsistent before we settle into consensus. This is why there are so many exciting scientific results that disappear the more the experiments are repeated. This is why there are so many paranormal experiences and so little proof, because “proof” means forcing everyone to see it the same way.”

-Ran Prieur

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous ◘Fractality◘ said...


Would you consider iterative algorithms conscious/intelligent?

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous said...

To Fractality:

If algorithm is computer algorithm, this would be functionalism and I do not believe in it.

Quantum jump is necessary for conciousness. In reading of memory representation, memory representations are not changed, but there are detectors which absorb the photons (or possibly phonons) having interaction free interaction: these produce the conscious experience such as geometric mental image or internal speech.

Conscious living systems can of course develop algorithms but these are not deterministic.

At 11:22 PM, Anonymous said...

To Fractality:

I agree more or less with Prieur.

It is nonsensical to claim that phenomenal experience and qualia are illusory "folk psychology" as elimative materialists might put it.

It is also nonsensical to deny the existence of objective realities obeying laws of physics as idealist would do.

TGD is compromise between the two views. Zero energy states are quantum superpositions of objective realities and quantum jump takes place between these and gives rise to phenomenal experience and qualia.

Self model emerges also. Quantum states can contain parts which are negentropically entangled and in good approximation invariant under quantum jumps. They define a model for self and external world. Interaction free measurement allows to get conscious information about these sensory/cognitive/memory representations.

Each sensory perception would be indeed like a process leading to the discovery of Higgs: endless arguments and counter arguments, confusion, and wrong alarms: and finally everything is clear.

At 1:04 AM, Anonymous ◘Fractality◘ said...


Thanks in advance for replies.

If you do not believe in functionalism, does that mean you do not believe in conscious AI?

What about using recursive algorithms in the process of divination/geomancy?

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous said...

To Fractality:

I do not believe in functionalism and conscious AI. The problem is that phenomenal consciousness lacks or must be postulated as epiphenonon in completely ad hoc manner or just denied as eliminativists do! This is general failure of all materialistic approaches.

Chalmers as dualist believes on variant of functionalism in which consciousness is pure epiphenomenon without any causal powers: this in order to avoid contradiction with laws of physics. Effectively one has emergent materialism.

Both approaches fail also because there is absolutely no idea about how to assign this epiphenomenal qualia to the physical state of the system.

It is ironic that all the theories discussed by Revonsuo in his excellent book belong to monistic or dualistic theories whose failures are more than obvious. Quantum theories of consciousness are not counted. Not too much is lost: most quantum conscousness theorists do not even realize the deep philosophical problems involved and think that wave mechanics is enough.

The sad situation reflects the simple fact that if you want to make a career you must think as your professor does! Things are much better at the experimental side as the book or Revonsuo reveals.

I failed to understand the second question. Sorry.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

Thanks for the wonderful thoughts Matti. I always thought Ray Kurzweil was a crackpot since he thought machines could become "conscious". Now he works for google making a living hyping other peoples inventions.

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

I'm sorry, that last comment was negative to me. Nothing against him personally. I'm sure he is well-intentioned. The real reason I dropped by is to leave this links I stumbled across: Perception and self-organized instability Free Energy, Value, and Attractors


At 8:17 PM, Anonymous said...

Thank you, Stephen.

Looks very interesting. I hope I could find time to compare with quantum approach.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Freeman Dyson "speaks" :)

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

It looks like Jeff Hawkins has open-sourced some stuff. I know... functionalism.. maybe neat I guess...

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Also see


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