A modular network treatment of Baars' global workspace consciousness model
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Network theory provides an alternative to the renormalization and phase transition methods used in Wallace's (2005a) treatment of Baars' Global Workspace model. Like the earlier study, the new analysis produces the workplace itself, the tunable threshold of consciousness, and the essential role for embedding contexts, in an explicitly analytic 'necessary conditions' manner which suffers neither the mereological fallacy inherent to brain-only theories nor the sufficiency indeterminacy of neural network or agent-based simulations. This suggests that the new approach, and the earlier, represent different analytically solvable limits in a broad continuum of possible models, analogous to the differences between bond and site percolation or between the two and many-body limits of classical mechanics. The development significantly extends the theoretical foundations for an empirical general cognitive model (GCM) based on the Shannon-McMillan Theorem. Patterned after the general linear model which reflects the Central Limit Theorem, the proposed technique should be both useful for the reduction of expermiental data on consciousness and in the design of devices with capacities which may transcend those of conventional machines and provide new perspectives on the varieties of biological consciousness
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