Theoretical Model of Intentionality

Mind and Matter 8 (1):7-18 (2010)

In this theoretical study we explore the concept of intentional-ity. Intentionality is the specific reference that mental phenomena have with respect to objects, also termed the 'aboutness' of cognitive acts. We discuss intentionality on the basis of self-organized pattern formation, a ubiquitous phenomenon in complex open systems. Dynamical systems theory provides an understanding of how emergent variables originate from microscopic variables. Control parameters comprise those external parameters and gradients that drive the systems they represent environmental inuences. The relationship between pattern formation and control parameters therefore addresses the functioning of a system in its environment. Our hypothesis is that self-organizing systems exhibit intentionality-like capabilities in their responses to environmental inuences. This is modelled using differential calculus, by which we demonstrate how pattern formation reduces control parameters in an efficient manner. These ideas are applied to the complex system brain, using the Wilson-Cowan equations of axonal pulse rates in neural networks.
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