The engine of awareness: Autonomous synchronous representations

Objections to functional explanations of awareness assert that although functional systems may be adequate to explain behavior, including verbal behavior consisting of assertions of awareness by an individual, they cannot provide for the existence of phenomenal awareness. In this paper, a theory of awareness is proposed that counters this assertion by incorporating two advances: (1) a formal definition of representation, expressed in a functional notation: Newell's Representation Law, and 2) the introduction of real time into the analysis of awareness. This leads to the definition of phenomenal awareness as existing whenever an object contains an autonomously updated configuration satisfying the Representation Law with respect to some aspects of its environment. The relational aspect of the Representation Law permits the development of multiple levels of awareness, which provides for the existence of illusions and hallucinations, and permits the identification of a new measure, accuracy of awareness . The relational perspective also permits the incorporation of referential concepts into the framework. Qualia can then be identified with referentially opaque elements of awareness. The functional form of the Representation Law is linked to neurophysiology and the underlying phenomena of chemistry and physics by phenomena involving activity-dependent connectivity
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