We present a hypothetical process of mind coalescence, where arti cial connections are created between two or more brains. This might simply allow for an improved form of communication. At the other extreme, it might merge the minds into one in a process that can be thought of as a reverse split-brain operation. We propose that one way mind coalescence might happen is via an exocortex, a prosthetic extension of the biological brain which integrates with the brain (...) as seamlessly as parts of the biological brain integrate with each other. An exocortex may also prove to be the easiest route for mind uploading, as a person's personality gradually moves away from the aging biological brain and onto the exocortex. Memories might also be copied and shared even without minds being permanently merged. Over time, the borders of personal identity may become loose or even unnecessary. (shrink)
The emulation theory of representation is developed and explored as a framework that can revealingly synthesize a wide variety of representational functions of the brain. The framework is based on constructs from control theory (forward models) and signal processing (Kalman filters). The idea is that in addition to simply engaging with the body and environment, the brain constructs neural circuits that act as models of the body and environment. During overt sensorimotor engagement, these models are driven by (...) efference copies in parallel with the body and environment, in order to provide expectations of the sensory feedback, and to enhance and process sensory information. These models can also be run off-line in order to produce imagery, estimate outcomes of different actions, and evaluate and develop motor plans. The framework is initially developed within the context of motor control, where it has been shown that inner models running in parallel with the body can reduce the effects of feedback delay problems. The same mechanisms can account for motor imagery as the off-line driving of the emulator via efference copies. The framework is extended to account for visual imagery as the off-line driving of an emulator of the motor-visual loop. I also show how such systems can provide for amodal spatial imagery. Perception, including visual perception, results from such models being used to form expectations of, and to interpret, sensory input. I close by briefly outlining other cognitive functions that might also be synthesized within this framework, including reasoning, theory of mind phenomena, and language. Key Words: efference copies; emulation theory of representation; forward models; Kalman filters; motor control; motor imagery; perception; visual imagery. (shrink)
I argue against a growing radical trend in current theoretical cognitive science that moves from the premises of embedded cognition, embodied cognition, dynamical systems theory and/or situated robotics to conclusions either to the effect that the mind is not in the brain or that cognition does not require representation, or both. I unearth the considerations at the foundation of this view: Haugeland's bandwidth-component argument to the effect that the brain is not a component in cognitive activity, and arguments (...) inspired by dynamical systems theory and situated robotics to the effect that cognitive activity does not involve representations. Both of these strands depend not only on a shift of emphasis from higher cognitive functions to things like sensorimotor processes, but also depend on a certain understanding of how sensorimotor processes are implemented - as closed-loop control systems. I describe a much more sophisticated model of sensorimotor processing that is not only more powerful and robust than simple closed-loop control, but for which there is great evidence that it is implemented in the nervous system. The is the emulation theory of representation, according to which the brain constructs inner dynamical models, or emulators, of the body and environment which are used in parallel with the body and environment to enhance motor control and perception and to provide faster feedback during motor processes, and can be run off-line to produce imagery and evaluate sensorimotor counterfactuals. I then show that the emulation framework is immune to the radical arguments, and makes apparent why the brain is a component in the cognitive activity, and exactly what the representations are in sensorimotor control. (shrink)
Special Issue “Risks of artificial general intelligence”, Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 26/3 (2014), ed. Vincent C. Müller. http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/teta20/26/3# - Risks of general artificial intelligence, Vincent C. Müller, pages 297-301 - Autonomous technology and the greater human good - Steve Omohundro - pages 303-315 - - - The errors, insights and lessons of famous AI predictions – and what they mean for the future - Stuart Armstrong, Kaj Sotala & Seán S. Ó hÉigeartaigh - pages 317-342 - - (...) - The path to more general artificial intelligence - Ted Goertzel - pages 343-354 - - - Limitations and risks of machine ethics - Miles Brundage - pages 355-372 - - - Utility function security in artificially intelligent agents - Roman V. Yampolskiy - pages 373-389 - - - GOLEM: towards an AGI meta-architecture enabling both goal preservation and radical self-improvement - Ben Goertzel - pages 391-403 - - - Universal empathy and ethical bias for artificial general intelligence - Alexey Potapov & Sergey Rodionov - pages 405-416 - - - Bounding the impact of AGI - András Kornai - pages 417-438 - - - Ethics of brain emulations - Anders Sandberg - pages 439-457. (shrink)
I survey four categories of factors that might give a digital mind, such as an upload or an artificial general intelligence, an advantage over humans. Hardware advantages include greater serial speeds and greater parallel speeds. Self-improvement advantages include improvement of algorithms, design of new mental modules, and modification of motivational system. Co-operative advantages include copyability, perfect co-operation, improved communication, and transfer of skills. Human handicaps include computational limitations and faulty heuristics, human-centric biases, and socially motivated cognition. The shape of hardware (...) growth curves, as well as the ease of modifying minds, are found to have a major impact on how quickly a digital mind may take advantage of these factors. (shrink)
This is the editorial for a special volume of JETAI, featuring papers by Omohundro, Armstrong/Sotala/O’Heigeartaigh, T Goertzel, Brundage, Yampolskiy, B. Goertzel, Potapov/Rodinov, Kornai and Sandberg. - If the general intelligence of artificial systems were to surpass that of humans significantly, this would constitute a significant risk for humanity – so even if we estimate the probability of this event to be fairly low, it is necessary to think about it now. We need to estimate what progress we can expect, what (...) the impact of superintelligent machines might be, how we might design safe and controllable systems, and whether there are directions of research that should best be avoided or strengthened. (shrink)
Modelling and simulations have gained a leading position in contemporary attempts to describe, explain, and quantitatively predict the human brain's operations. Computer models are highly sophisticated tools developed to achieve an integrated knowledge of the brain with the aim of overcoming the actual fragmentation resulting from different neuroscientific approaches. In this paper we investigate plausibility of simulation technologies for emulation of consciousness and the potential clinical impact of large-scale brain simulation on the assessment and care of (...) disorders of consciousness, e.g. Coma, Vegetative State/Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome, Minimally Conscious State.Notwithstanding their technical limitations, we suggest that simulation technologies may offer new solutions to old practical problems, particularly in clinical contexts. We take DOCs as an illustrative case, arguing that the simulation of neural correlates of consciousness is potentially useful for improving treatments of patients with DOCs. (shrink)
The emulation theory of representation articulated in the target article is further explained and explored in this response to commentaries. Major topics include: the irrelevance of equilibrium-point and related models of motor control to the theory; clarification of the particular sense of “representation” which the emulation theory of representation is an account of; the relation between the emulation framework and Kalman filtering; and addressing the empirical data considered to be in conflict with the emulation theory. In (...) addition, I discuss the further empirical support for the emulation theory provided by some commentators, as well as a number of suggested theoretical applications. (shrink)
Byrne & Russon redefine the process of emulation learning as “goal emulation” and thereby distort its most distinctive characteristic: the criterion that the observer focuses on environmental rather than behavioral processes. The two empirical examples recounted – gorilla plant processing and orangutan manipulation of human artifacts – are hierarchically organized behaviors, but there is very little evidence that they involve imitative learning, program-level or otherwise.
Three related issues are addressed. First, Hurley treats emulation and imitation as a straightforward dichotomy with emulation emerging first. Recent conceptual analyses and chimpanzee experiments challenge this. Second, other recent chimpanzee experiments reveal high-fidelity social transmission, questioning whether copying fidelity is the brake on cumulative culture. Finally, other cognitive processes such as pretence need to be integrated.
This commentary addresses the neural implementation of emulation, mostly using findings from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Furthermore, both empirical and theoretical suggestions are discussed that render two aspects of emulation theory redundant: independent modal emulators and extra measurement of amodal emulation. This modified emulation theory can conceptually integrate simulation theory and also get rid of some problematic philosophical implications.
First, I note three questions that need further exploration: how fast the emulator operates, compared to the real-time events it models; what exactly perceptual emulation, with no motor component, consists of; and whether images are equivalent to raw sensations. Next, I propose that Grush's framework can explain the role of motor activation in processing “imitable” stimuli.
Much can be gained by specifying the operation of the emulation process. A brief review of studies from diverse domains, including complex motor-skill representation, emotion perception, and face memory, highlights that emulation theory offers precise explanations of results and novel predictions. However, the neural instantiation of the emulation process requires development to move the theory from armchair to laboratory.
Grush describes a variety of different systems that illustrate his vision of representation through emulation. These individual data points are not necessarily sufficient to determine what level of detail is required for a representation to count as emulation. By examining one of his examples closely, this commentary suggest that salience of the information supplied is a critical dimension.
In this commentary we discuss a predictive sensorimotor illusion, the size-weight illusion, in which the smaller of two objects of equal weight is perceived as heavier. We suggest that Grush's emulation theory can explain this illusion as a mismatch between predicted and actual sensorimotor feedback, and present preliminary data suggesting that the cerebellum may be critical for implementing the emulator.
Although the application of the emulation model to the control of simple positioning movements is relatively straightforward, extending the scheme to actions requiring multisegmental, interlimb coordination complicates matters a bit. Special consideration of the demands in this case, both on sensory processing and on the process model (two key elements of the Kalman filter), are discussed.
Many of Grush's arguments should apply equally to animals with small brains, for which the capacity to internally model the body and environment must be limited. The dilemma may be solved by making only very approximate predictions, or only attempting to derive a “high-level” prediction from “high-level” output. At the extreme, in either case, the “emulation” step becomes trivial.
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate (...) of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brainemulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. (shrink)
I explain a strategy, called model-based control, which has proven useful in control theory, and argue that many aspects of brain function can be understood as applications of this strategy. I first demonstrate that in the domain of motor control, there is good evidence that the brain constructs models, or emulators, of musculoskeletal dynamics. I then argue that imagery, motor, visual and otherwise, can be supported by these emulatory mechanisms. I argue that the same apparatus to understanding aspects (...) of psychological development, including the development of theory of mind. I then show how features of linguistic competence can be addressed with the same mechanisms. Finally, I develop a semantic theory applicable to these emulators. (shrink)
Illusory kinesthetic sensation was influenced by motor imagery of the wrist following tendon vibration. The imagery and the illusion conditions commonly activated the contralateral cingulate motor area, supplementary motor area, dorsal premotor cortex, and ipsilateral cerebellum. This supports the notion that motor imagery is a mental rehearsal of movement, during which expected kinesthetic sensation is emulated by recruiting multiple motor areas, commonly activated by pure kinesthesia.
We address the issue of the normativity of representation and how Grush might address it for emulations as constituting representations. We then proceed to several more detailed issues concerning the learning of emulations, a possible empirical counterexample to Grush's model, and the choice of Kalman filters as the form of model-based control.
An emerging class of theories concerning the functional structure of the brain takes the reuse of neural circuitry for various cognitive purposes to be a central organizational principle. According to these theories, it is quite common for neural circuits established for one purpose to be exapted (exploited, recycled, redeployed) during evolution or normal development, and be put to different uses, often without losing their original functions. Neural reuse theories thus differ from the usual understanding of the role of neural (...) plasticity (which is, after all, a kind of reuse) in brain organization along the following lines: According to neural reuse, circuits can continue to acquire new uses after an initial or original function is established; the acquisition of new uses need not involve unusual circumstances such as injury or loss of established function; and the acquisition of a new use need not involve (much) local change to circuit structure (e.g., it might involve only the establishment of functional connections to new neural partners). Thus, neural reuse theories offer a distinct perspective on several topics of general interest, such as: the evolution and development of the brain, including (for instance) the evolutionary-developmental pathway supporting primate tool use and human language; the degree of modularity in brain organization; the degree of localization of cognitive function; and the cortical parcellation problem and the prospects (and proper methods to employ) for function to structure mapping. The idea also has some practical implications in the areas of rehabilitative medicine and machine interface design. (shrink)
Humans have long wondered whether they can survive the death of their physical bodies. Some people now look to technology as a means by which this might occur, using terms such 'whole brainemulation', 'mind uploading', and 'substrate independent minds' to describe a set of hypothetical procedures for transferring or emulating the functioning of a human mind on a synthetic substrate. There has been much debate about the philosophical implications of such procedures for personal survival. Most participants to (...) that debate assume that the continuation of identity is an objective fact that can be revealed by scientific enquiry or rational debate. We bring into this debate a perspective that has so far been neglected: that personal identities are in large part social constructs. Consequently, to enable a particular identity to survive the transference process, it is not sufficient to settle age-old philosophical questions about the nature of identity. It is also necessary to maintain certain networks of interaction between the synthetic person and its social environment, and sustain a collective belief in the persistence of identity. We defend this position by using the example of the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist tradition and identify technological procedures that could increase the credibility of personal continuity between biological and artificial substrates. (shrink)
We briefly address three issues that might be important to evaluate the validity of the “emulation theory”: (1) Does it really say something new? (2) Are similar processes engaged in action, imagery, and perception? (3) Does a brain amodal emulator exist?
[Müller, Vincent C. (ed.), (2016), Fundamental issues of artificial intelligence (Synthese Library, 377; Berlin: Springer). 570 pp.] -- This volume offers a look at the fundamental issues of present and future AI, especially from cognitive science, computer science, neuroscience and philosophy. This work examines the conditions for artificial intelligence, how these relate to the conditions for intelligence in humans and other natural agents, as well as ethical and societal problems that artificial intelligence raises or will raise. The key issues this (...) volume investigates include the relation of AI and cognitive science, ethics of AI and robotics, brainemulation and simulation, hybrid systems and cyborgs, intelligence and intelligence testing, interactive systems, multi-agent systems, and superintelligence. Based on the 2nd conference on “Theory and Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence” held in Oxford, the volume includes prominent researchers within the field from around the world. (shrink)
Contrary to received opinion among philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists, conscious duality as a principle of brain organization is neither incoherent nor demonstrably false. The present paper begins by reviewing the history of the theory and its anatomical basis and defending it against the claim that it rests upon an arbitrary decision as to what constitutes the biological substratum of mind or person.
This paper defends cognitive neuroscience’s project of developing mechanistic explan- ations of cognitive processes through decomposition and localization against objections raised by William Uttal in The New Phrenology. The key issue between Uttal and researchers pursuing cognitive neuroscience is that Uttal bets against the possibility of decomposing mental operations into component elementary operations which are localized in distinct brain regions. The paper argues that it is through advancing and revising what are likely to be overly simplistic and incorrect decompositions (...) that the goals of cognitive neuroscience are likely to be achieved. (shrink)
Recent evidence in natural and semi-natural settings has revealed a variety of left-right perceptual asymmetries among vertebrates. These include preferential use of the left or right visual hemifield during activities such as searching for food, agonistic responses, or escape from predators in animals as different as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. There are obvious disadvantages in showing such directional asymmetries because relevant stimuli may be located to the animal's left or right at random; there is no a priori association (...) between the meaning of a stimulus (e.g., its being a predator or a food item) and its being located to the animal's left or right. Moreover, other organisms (e.g., predators) could exploit the predictability of behavior that arises from population-level lateral biases. It might be argued that lateralization of function enhances cognitive capacity and efficiency of the brain, thus counteracting the ecological disadvantages of lateral biases in behavior. However, such an increase in brain efficiency could be obtained by each individual being lateralized without any need to align the direction of the asymmetry in the majority of the individuals of the population. Here we argue that the alignment of the direction of behavioral asymmetries at the population level arises as an “evolutionarily stable strategy” under “social” pressures occurring when individually asymmetrical organisms must coordinate their behavior with the behavior of other asymmetrical organisms of the same or different species. Key Words: asymmetry; brain evolution; brain lateralization; development; hemispheric specialization; laterality; lateralization of behavior; social behavior; theory of games. (shrink)
How does evolution grow bigger brains? It has been widely assumed that growth of individual structures and functional systems in response to niche-specific cognitive challenges is the most plausible mechanism for brain expansion in mammals. Comparison of multiple regressions on allometric data for 131 mammalian species, however, suggests that for 9 of 11 brain structures taxonomic and body size factors are less important than covariance of these major structures with each other. Which structure grows biggest is largely predicted (...) by a conserved order of neurogenesis that can be derived from the basic axial structure of the developing brain. This conserved order of neurogenesis predicts the relative scaling not only of gross brain regions like the isocortex or mesencephalon, but also the level of detail of individual thalamic nuclei. Special selection of particular areas for specific functions does occur, but it is a minor factor compared to the large-scale covariance of the whole brain. The idea that enlarged isocortex could be a a by-product of structural constraints later adapted for various behaviors, contrasts with approaches to selection of particular brain regions for cognitively advanced uses, as is commonly assumed in the case of hominid brain evolution. (shrink)
The topics treated in The brain and emotion include the definition, nature, and functions of emotion (Ch. 3); the neural bases of emotion (Ch. 4); reward, punishment, and emotion in brain design (Ch. 10); a theory of consciousness and its application to understanding emotion and pleasure (Ch. 9); and neural networks and emotion-related learning (Appendix). The approach is that emotions can be considered as states elicited by reinforcers (rewards and punishers). This approach helps with understanding the functions of (...) emotion, with classifying different emotions, and in understanding what information-processing systems in the brain are involved in emotion, and how they are involved. The hypothesis is developed that brains are designed around reward-and punishment-evaluation systems, because this is the way that genes can build a complex system that will produce appropriate but flexible behavior to increase fitness (Ch. 10). By specifying goals rather than particular behavioral patterns of responses, genes leave much more open the possible behavioral strategies that might be required to increase fitness. The importance of reward and punishment systems in brain design also provides a basis for understanding the brain mechanisms of motivation, as described in Chapters 2 for appetite and feeding, 5 for brain-stimulation reward, 6 for addiction, 7 for thirst, and 8 for sexual behavior. Key Words: amygdala; brain evolution; consciousness; dopamine; emotion; hunger; orbitofrontal cortex; punishment; reward; taste. (shrink)
The understanding of the interrelationship between brain and mind remains far from clear. It is well established that the brain's capacity to integrate information from numerous sources forms the basis for cognitive abilities. However, the core unresolved question is how information about the "objective" physical entities of the external world can be integrated, and how unifiedand coherent mental states (or Gestalts) can be established in the internal entities of distributed neuronal systems. The present paper offers a unified methodological (...) and conceptual basis for a possible mechanism of how the transient synchronization of brain operations may construct the unified and relatively stable neural states, which underlie mental states. It was shown that the sequence of metastable spatial EEG mosaics does exist and probably reflects the rapid stabilization periods of the interrelation of large neuron systems. At the EEG level this is reflected in the stabilization of quasi-stationary segments on corresponding channels. Within the introduced framework, physical brain processes and psychological processes are considered as two basic aspects of a single whole informational brain state. The relations between operational process of the brain, mental states and consciousness are discussed. (shrink)
Recent imaging results suggest that individuals automatically share the emotions of others when exposed to their emotions. We question the assumption of the automaticity and propose a contextual approach, suggesting several modulatory factors that might influence empathic brain responses. Contextual appraisal could occur early in emotional cue evaluation, which then might or might not lead to an empathic brain response, or not until after an empathic brain response is automatically elicited. We propose two major roles for empathy; (...) its epistemological role is to provide information about the future actions of other people, and important environmental properties. Its social role is to serve as the origin of the motivation for cooperative and prosocial behavior, as well as help for effective social communication. (shrink)
Schizophrenia is a worldwide, prevalent disorder with a multifactorial but highly genetic aetiology. A constant prevalence rate in the face of reduced fecundity has caused some to argue that an evolutionary advantage exists in unaffected relatives. Here, I critique this adaptationist approach, and review – and find wanting – Crow's “speciation” hypothesis. In keeping with available biological and psychological evidence, I propose an alternative theory of the origins of this disorder. Schizophrenia is a disorder of the social brain, and (...) it exists as a costly trade-off in the evolution of complex social cognition. Paleoanthropological and comparative primate research suggests that hominids evolved complex cortical interconnectivity (in particular, frontotemporal and frontoparietal circuits) to regulate social cognition and the intellectual demands of group living. I suggest that the ontogenetic mechanism underlying this cerebral adaptation was sequential hypermorphosis and that it rendered the hominid brain vulnerable to genetic and environmental insults. I argue that changes in genes regulating the timing of neurodevelopment occurred prior to the migration of Homo sapiens out of Africa 100,000–150,000 years ago, giving rise to the schizotypal spectrum. While some individuals within this spectrum may have exhibited unusual creativity and iconoclasm, this phenotype was not necessarily adaptive in reproductive terms. However, because the disorder shared a common genetic basis with the evolving circuitry of the social brain, it persisted. Thus schizophrenia emerged as a costly trade-off in the evolution of complex social cognition. Key Words: cortical connectivity; evolution; heterochrony; metarepresentation; primates; psychiatry; schizophrenia; social brain; social cognition. (shrink)
Neural engineers and clinicians are starting to translate advances in electrodes, neural computation, and signal processing into clinically useful devices to allow control of wheelchairs, spellers, prostheses, and other devices. In the process, large amounts of brain data are being generated from participants, including intracortical, subdural and extracranial sources. Brain data is a vital resource for BCI research but there are concerns about whether the collection and use of this data generates risk to privacy. Further, the nature of (...) BCI research involves understanding and making inferences about device users’ mental states, thoughts, and intentions. This, too, raises privacy concerns by providing otherwise unavailable direct or privileged access to individuals mental lives. And BCI-controlled prostheses may change the way clinical care is provided and the type of physical access caregivers have to patients. This, too, has important privacy implications. I In this chapter we examine several of these privacy concerns in light of prominent views of the nature and value of privacy. We argue that increased scrutiny needs to be paid to privacy concerns arising from Big Data and decoding of mental states, but that BCI research may also provide opportunity for individuals to enhance their privacy. (shrink)
Grafts of embryonic neural tissue into the brains of adult patients are currently being used to treat Parkinson's disease and are under serious consideration as therapy for a variety of other degenerative and traumatic disorders. This target article evaluates the use of transplants to promote recovery from brain injury and highlights the kinds of questions and problems that must be addressed before this form of therapy is routinely applied. It has been argued that neural transplantation can promote functional recovery (...) through the replacement of damaged nerve cells, the reestablishment of specific nerve pathways lost as a result of injury, the release of specific neurotransmitters, or the production of factors that promote neuronal growth. The latter two mechanisms, which need not rely on anatomical connections to the host brain, are open to examination for nonsurgical, less intrusive therapeutic use. Certain subjective judgments used to select patients who will receive grafts and in assessment of the outcome of graft therapy make it difficult to evaluate the procedure. In addition, little long-term assessment of transplant efficacy and effect has been done in nonhuman primates. Carefully controlled human studies, with multiple testing paradigms, are also needed to establish the efficacy of transplant therapy. (shrink)
Scientific studies have shown that non-conscious stimuli and représentations influence information processing during conscious experience. In the light of such evidence, questions about potential functional links between non-conscious brain representations and conscious experience arise. This article discusses models capable of explaining how statistical learning mechanisms in dedicated resonant circuits could generate specific temporal activity traces of non-conscious representations in the brain. How reentrant signaling, top-down matching, and statistical coincidence of such activity traces may lead to the progressive consolidation (...) of neural signatures of conscious experience in networks extending across large distances beyond functionally specialized brain regions is then explained. (shrink)
The philosophy of our proposal are as follows: (1) Various ideas of life and death, including that of objecting to brain death as human death, should be guaranteed. We would like to maintain the idea of pluralism of human death; and (2) We should respect a child’s view of life and death. We should provide him/her with an opportunity to think and express their own ideas about life and death.
The analysis of mental concepts suggests that the distinctionbetween the mental and the nonmental is not ontologically fundamental,and that, whereas mental processes are one and the same things as thebrain processes with which they are correlated, dispositional mentalstates depend causally on and are, thus, ''''distinct existences'''' fromthe states of the brain microstructure with which ''they'' are correlated.It is argued that this difference in the relation between an entity andits composition/underlying structure applies across the board. allstuffs and processes are the (...) same thing as is described by a descriptionof their microstructure. In all cases where the manifestation of adisposition extends beyond the ''''skin'''' of the dispositional propertybearer, dispositions invariably depend causally on the structure,usually the microstructure, of the bearer. (shrink)
We investigated binocular rivalry in the twocerebral hemispheres of callosotomized(split-brain) observers. We found that rivalryoccurs for complex stimuli in split-brainobservers, and that it is similar in the twohemispheres. This poses difficulties for twotheories of rivalry: (1) that rivalry occursbecause of switching of activity between thetwo hemispheres, and (2) that rivalry iscontrolled by a structure in the rightfrontoparietal cortex. Instead, similar rivalryfrom the two hemispheres is consistent with atheory that its mechanism is low in the visualsystem, at which each hemisphere (...) conducts asimilar analysis of its half of visual space. (shrink)
This article probes the evolutionary origins ofmoral capacities and moral agency. From thisit develops a theory of the guidancesystem of higher mind (GSHM). The GSHM is ageneral model of intelligence whereby moralfunctioning is integrated with cognitive,affective, and conative functioning, resultingin a flow of information between eight brainlevels functioning as an evaluative unitbetween stimulus and response.The foundation of this view of morality and ofcaring behavior is Charles Darwin's theory,largely ignored until recently, of thegrounding of morality in sexual instincts whichlater expand into (...) parental love. Also, PaulMacLean made these same connections in hisdevelopment of the triune brain theory, whichwas founded on observations of both sexual andaffectionate responses from stimulation oflimbic and paleocortical areas (that is, notthe most primitive areas) of monkey brains. This article relates the revolutionary areas ofDarwin and of MacLean together for the firsttime in an way intended to be accessible to arange of social and natural scientists. TheGSHM builds on and expands both of their workto develop a theory of the processing withinour brains of information screened by asequence of systems, social, future, moral,developmental, and managerial ``sensitivities.''Darwin's and MacLean's observations and theGSHM theory developed here argue against theold strict distinction between ``lower''emotional processes and ``higher'' rationalprocesses. In fact, MacLean, Karl Pribram, andothers have found that emotional responses areclosely tied to reason through the functions ofthe prefrontal cortex. Prefrontal function isclosely related to the development of moralsensibility and judgment. In particular, it isthe connections between prefrontal cortex andother brain areas that allow us to makedeliberate choices to be or not to be caring. These same connections allow us to learnculturally sensitive signals for when torelease or inhibit our cooperative oraggressive tendencies (both of which can beelicited by sexual displays in monkeys as wellas humans). These are closely tied to thesocial instinct in animals, and to thesocialization that children receive from theirparents (whom the clinical psychologist AlanSchore has described as providing a ``substituteprefrontal cortex'' for their very youngchildren). Higher levels of the GSHM modelsuch capabilities as thinking beyond thecurrent social situation to ``what could be'' anddialectical synthesis of apparent opposites,which are what allow humans the freedom todesign social realities to fit our moralsensibilities. (shrink)
Dynamic systems theory offers conceptual andmathematical tools for describing the performance ofneural systems at very different levels oforganization. Three aspects of the dynamic paradigmare discussed, namely neural rhythms, neural andmental development, and macroscopic brain theories andmodels.
Present discussions in philosophy of mind focuson ontological and epistemic characteristics ofmind and on mind-brain relations. In contrast,ontological and epistemic characteristics ofthe brain have rarely been thematized. Rather,philosophy seems to rely upon an implicitdefinition of the brain as "neuronal object''and "object of recognition'': henceontologically and epistemically distinct fromthe mind, characterized as "mental subject'' and"subject of recognition''. This leads to the"brain-paradox''. This ontological and epistemicdissociation between brain and mind can beconsidered central for the problems of mind (...) andmind-brain relations that have yet to beresolved in philosophy. The brain itself hasnot been thematized epistemically andontologically, leading to a "brain problem''.The epistemic and ontological dissociationbetween brain and mind presupposes an"isolated'' picture of the brain, characterizedby context-independence (i.e. "isolation'' frombody and environment). We can describe thisview as an extrinsic relationship betweenbrain, body and environment. However, based onrecent empirical findings about body image andphantom sensations, we can no longer considerthe brain as context-independent or "isolated''from its bodily and environmental context.Instead, the brain must be considered"embedded''. Within the context of 'embeddment',brain and bodily/environmental context seemmutually to determine each other, and hence bereciprocally dependent on each other. We candescribe this as an intrinsic relationshipbetween brain, body and environment.Defining the brain as "embedded'' undermines theepistemic and ontological dissociation betweenbrain and mind and consequently resolves the"brain-paradox''. This resolution sheds novellight on problems of mind and mind-brainrelations by relativizing both. It is thereforeconcluded that philosophy should thematizeontological and epistemic characteristics ofthe brain, thereby taking into account the"brain problem'' and developing a "philosophy ofthe brain''. This approach not only opens a newfield in philosophy but also extends the focusof empirical investigation in the neurosciencesto take into account the intrinsic relationshipbetween brain, body and environment. (shrink)
To maintain my neutral monist or multi-aspect view of human reality (or indeed to defend the Cartesian dualism assumed by Puccetti & Dykes, it is wrong to relate the mind to the brain alone. A person's mind should be related to the physical environment, including the body, in addition to the brain. Furthermore, we are unlikely to understand the detailed functioning of an individual brain without knowing the history of its interactions with the external and internal environments (...) during that person's life, or indeed any inherited neurogenomics (circuitry innately adapted to ecology. (shrink)