Quantum cognition research applies abstract, mathematical principles of quantum theory to inquiries in cognitive science. It differs fundamentally from alternative speculations about quantum brain processes. This topic presents new developments within this research program. In the introduction to this topic, we try to answer three questions: Why apply quantum concepts to human cognition? How is quantum cognitive modeling different from traditional cognitive modeling? What cognitive processes have been modeled using a quantum account? In addition, a brief introduction to quantum probability (...) theory and a concrete example is provided to illustrate how a quantum cognitive model can be developed to explain paradoxical empirical findings in psychological literature. (shrink)
The concepts of complementarity and entanglement are considered with respect to their significance in and beyond physics. A formally generalized, weak version of quantum theory, more general than ordinary quantum theory of physical systems, is outlined and tentatively applied to two examples.
The role of contingent contexts in formulating relations between properties of systems at different descriptive levels is addressed. Based on the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions for interlevel relations, a comprehensive classification of such relations is proposed, providing a transparent conceptual framework for discussing particular versions of reduction, emergence, and supervenience. One of these versions, contextual emergence, is demonstrated using two physical examples: molecular structure and chirality, and thermal equilibrium and temperature. The concept of stability is emphasized as a (...) basic guiding principle of contextual property emergence. (shrink)
A novel conceptual framework for theoretical psychology is presented and illustrated for the example of bistable perception. A basic formal feature of this framework is the non-commutativity of operations acting on mental states. A corresponding model for the bistable perception of ambiguous stimuli, the Necker–Zeno model, is sketched and some empirical evidence for it so far is described. It is discussed how a temporal non-locality of mental states, predicted by the model, can be understood and tested.
It is widely accepted that consciousness or, more generally, mental activity is in some way correlated to the behavior of the material brain. Since quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter that is currently available, it is a legitimate question to ask whether quantum theory can help us to understand consciousness. Several approaches answering this question affirmatively, proposed in recent decades, will be surveyed. It will be pointed out that they make different epistemological assumptions, refer to different neurophysiological (...) levels of description, and use quantum theory in different ways. For each of the approaches discussed, problematic and promising features will be equally highlighted. (shrink)
Dual-aspect monism and neutral monism offer interesting alternatives to mainstream positions concerning the mind-matter problem. Both assume a domain underlying the mind-matter distinction, but they also differ in definitive ways. In the twentieth century, variants of both positions have been advanced by a number of protagonists. One of these variants, the dual-aspect monism due toWolfgang Pauli and Carl Gustav Jung, will be described and commented on in detail. As a unique feature in the Pauli-Jung conception, the duality of mental and (...) material aspects is specified in terms of a complementarity. This sounds innocent, but entails a number of peculiarities distinguishing their conjecture from other approaches. (shrink)
The emergence of mental states from neural states by partitioning the neural phase space is analyzed in terms of symbolic dynamics. Well-deﬁned mental states provide contexts inducing a criterion of structural stability for the neurodynamics that can be implemented by particular partitions. This leads to distinguished subshifts of ﬁnite type that are either cyclic or irreducible. Cyclic shifts correspond to asymptotically stable ﬁxed points or limit tori whereas irreducible shifts are obtained from generating partitions of mixing hyperbolic systems. These stability (...) criteria are applied to the discussion of neural correlates of consiousness, to the deﬁnition of macroscopic neural states, and to aspects of the symbol grounding problem. In particular, it is shown that compatible mental descriptions, topologically equivalent to the neurodynamical description, emerge if the partition of the neural phase space is generating. If this is not the case, mental descriptions are incompatible or complementary. Consequences of this result for an integration or uniﬁcation of cognitive science or psychology, respectively, will be indicated. (shrink)
Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) was one of the greatest physicists of the past century. He played a leading role in the development of modern physics and was known for his ruthless intellectual integrity. Pauli first became famed through the publication of his encyclopaedia article on the theory of relativity (Pauli, 1921) when he was still a student of Sommerfeld's. Einstein much admired this article, which remained a classic.
The concept of complementarity, originally defined for non-commuting observables of quantum systems with states of non-vanishing dispersion, is extended to classical dynamical systems with a partitioned phase space. Interpreting partitions in terms of ensembles of epistemic states (symbols) with corresponding classical observables, it is shown that such observables are complementary to each other with respect to particular partitions unless those partitions are generating. This explains why symbolic descriptions based on an ad hoc partition of an underlying phase space description should (...) generally be expected to be incompatible. Related approaches with different background and different objectives are discussed. (shrink)
Mental and neural states are related to one another by vertical interlevel relations and by horizontal intralevel relations. For particular choices of such relations, problems arise if causal efficacy is ascribed to mental states. In a series of influential papers and books, Kim has presented his much discussed “supervenience argument,” which ultimately amounts to the dilemma that mental states either are causally inefficacious or they hold the threat of overdetermining neural states. Forced by this disjunction, Kim votes in favor of (...) overdetermination and, ultimately, reduction. We propose a perspective on mental causation that dissolves the assumption of a tension between horizontal and vertical determination. For mental states to be causally efficacious, they must be dynamically stable. This important requirement can be implemented by combining a key idea of supervenience, multiple realization, with the recently introduced vertical interlevel relation of contextual emergence. Both together deflate Kim's dilemma and reflate the causal efficacy of mental states. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Temporally non-local measurements -- single measurements yielding information about the state of a system at different instances-- may provide a way to observe non-classical behaviour in mental systems. The signature for such behaviour is a violation of temporal Bell inequalities. We present such inequalities applicable to scenarios with two alternating mental states, such as in the perception of ambiguous figures. We indicate empirical options for testing temporal Bell inequalities, and speculate about possible explanations in case these inequalities are indeed violated.
Two distinct conceptions for the relation between reversible, time-reversal invariant laws of nature and the irreversible behavior of physical systems are outlined. The standard, extrinsic concept of irreversibility is based on the notion of an open system interacting with its environment. An alternative, intrinsic concept of irreversibility does not explicitly refer to any environment at all. Basic aspects of the two concepts are presented and compared with each other. The significance of the terms extrinsic and intrinsic is discussed.
Mental representations are based upon categories in which the state of a mental system is stable. Acategorial states, on the other hand, are distinguished by unstable behavior. A refined and compact terminology for the description of categorial and acategorial mental states and their stability properties is introduced within the framework of the theory of dynamical systems. The relevant concepts are illustrated by selected empirical observations in cognitive neuroscience. Alterations of the category of the first person singular and features of creative (...) activity will be discussed as examples for the phenomenology of acategorial states. (shrink)
We propose a distinction between precategorial, acategorial and categorial states within a scientiﬁcally oriented understanding of mental processes. This distinction can be speciﬁed by approaches developed in cognitive neuroscience and the analytical philosophy of mind. On the basis of a representational theory of mental processes, acategoriality refers to a form of knowledge that presumes fully developed categorial mental representations, yet refers to nonconceptual experiences in mental states beyond categorial states. It relies on a simultaneous experience of potential individual representations and (...) their actual “representational ground”, an undiﬀerentiated precategorial state. This simultaneity is possible if the mental state does not reside in a representation but in between representations. Acategoriality can be formally modeled as an unstable state of a dynamical mental system that is subject to particular stability criteria. (shrink)
Systems exhibiting relationships between mental states and material states, briefly mind-matter systems, offer epistemological and methodological problems exceeding those of systems with mental states or material states alone. Some of these problems can be addressed by proceeding from standard firstorder approaches to more sophisticated second-order approaches. These can illuminate questions of reference and validity, and their ramifications for the topic of reproducibility. For various situations in complex systems it is shown that second-order approaches need to be employed. Considering mind-matter systems (...) as generalized complex systems provides some guidelines for analyzing the problem of reproducibility in such systems from a novel perspective. (shrink)
The concept of contextual emergence has been proposed as a non-reductive, yet well- defined relation between different levels of description of physical and other systems. It is illustrated for the transition from statistical mechanics to thermodynamical properties such as temperature. Stability conditions are shown to be crucial for a rigorous implementation of contingent contexts that are required to understand temperature as an emergent property. Are such stability conditions meaningful for contextual emergence beyond physics as well? An affirmative example from cognitive (...) neuroscience addresses the relation between neurobiological and mental levels of description. For a particular class of partitions of the underlying neurobiological phase space, so-called generating partitions, the emergent mental states are stable under the dynamics. In this case, mental descriptions are (i) faithful representations of the neurodynamics and (ii) compatible with one another. (shrink)
We present results from numerical studies of supervised learning operations in recurrent networks considered as graphs, leading from a given set of input conditions to predetermined outputs. Graphs that have optimized their output for particular inputs with respect to predetermined outputs are asymptotically stable and can be characterized by attractors which form a representation space for an associative multiplicative structure of input operations. As the mapping from a series of inputs onto a series of such attractors generally depends on the (...) sequence of inputs, this structure is generally noncommutative. Moreover, the size of the set of attractors, indicating the complexity of learning, is found to behave non-monotonically as learning proceeds. A tentative relation between this complexity and the notion of pragmatic information is indicated. (shrink)
The idea of complementarity already appears in William James’ (1890a, p. 206) Principles of Psychology in the chapter on “the relations of minds to other things”. Later, in 1927, Niels Bohr introduced complementarity as a fundamental concept in quantum mechanics. It refers to properties (observables) that a system cannot have simultaneously, and which cannot be simultaneously measured with arbitrarily high accuracy. Yet, in the context of classical physics they would both be needed for an exhaustive description of the system.
A well-known difficulty of the interdisciplinary dialogue beyond the limits of particular disciplines is the lack of common ground regarding their metaphysical and methodological assumptions and commitments. This is particularly evident for the precarious relationship between science and religion. In a 2016 conference entitled “The Many Faces of Panentheism” held in Zurich, and now in this introduction as well as this section, we try to counteract this situation by choosing a focus theme located at the interface between nature and the (...) divine. Thus, key perspectives, arguments, and implications of panentheism are introduced not only from one selected point of view but in relation to others. This allows us to explore territory beyond the boundaries of disciplinary backgrounds and to address intellectual and practical consequences for current debates. (shrink)
The concept of contextual emergence is proposed as a non-reductive, yet welldeﬁned relation between different levels of description of physical and other systems. It is illustrated for the transition from statistical mechanics to thermodynamical properties such as temperature. Stability conditions are crucial for a rigorous implementation of contingent contexts that are required to understand temperature as an emergent property. It is proposed that such stability conditions are meaningful for contextual emergence beyond physics as well.
It is widely accepted that consciousness or, in other words, mental activity is in some way correlated to the behavior of the brain or, in other words, material brain activity. Since quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter that is currently available, it is a legitimate question to ask whether quantum theory can help us to understand consciousness. Several approaches answering this question a?rmatively, proposed in recent decades, will be surveyed. It will be pointed out that they make (...) di?erent epistemological assumptions, refer to di?erent neurophysiological levels of description, and adopt quantum theory in di?erent ways. For each of the approaches discussed, these imply both.. (shrink)
This contribution addresses major distinctions between the notions of determinism, causation, and prediction, as they are typically used in the sciences. Formally, this can be elegantly achieved by two ingredients: (i) the distinction of ontic and epistemic states of a system, and (ii) temporal symmetry breakings based on the mathematical concept of the affine time group. Key aspects of the theory of deterministically chaotic systems together with historical quotations from Laplace, Maxwell, and Poincare provide significant illustrations. An important point of (...) various discussions in consciousness studies (notably about 'mental causation' and 'free agency'), the alleged 'causal closure of the physical', will be analysed on the basis of the affine time group and the breakdown of its symmetries. (shrink)
The physical process of observation is considered from a specific information theoretical viewpoint. Using the modified concept of an information based on infinite alternatives, a formalism is derived describing the elementary transfer of one bit of information. This bit of information is produced on a virtual (nonreal) sub-quantum level of physical description. The interpretation of the formalism yields the following, complementary points: (i) the effect of spatiotemporal delocalization on the sub-quantum level, and (ii) a possible access to the concept of (...) chaos as an intrinsic property of quantum systems. As a brief example, elementary information transfer is illustrated in a cosmological context. Finally, a formal approach to information production on the sub-quantum level is sketched on the basis of complex time. (shrink)
Philosophical discourse traditionally distinguishes between ontology and epistemology and generally enforces this distinction by keeping the two subject areas separated. However, the relationship between the two areas is of central importance to physics and philosophy of physics. For instance, many measurement-related problems force us to consider both our knowledge of the states and observables of a system and its states and observables independent of such knowledge. This applies to quantum systems in particular. This contribution presents an example showing the importance (...) of distinguishing between ontic and epistemic levels of description even for classical systems. Corresponding conceptions of ontic and epistemic states and their evolution are introduced and discussed with respect to aspects of stability and information flow. These aspects show why the ontic/epistemic distinction is particularly important for systems exhibiting deterministic chaos. Moreover, this distinction provides some understanding of the relationships between determinism, causation, predictability, randomness, and stochasticity. (shrink)
The dynamics of neuronal systems, briefly neurodynamics, has developed into an attractive and influential research branch within neuroscience. In this paper, we discuss a number of conceptual issues in neurodynamics that are important for an appropriate interpretation and evaluation of its results. We demonstrate their relevance for selected topics of theoretical and empirical work. In particular, we refer to the notions of determinacy and stochasticity in neurodynamics across levels of microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic descriptions. The issue of correlations between neural, (...) mental and behavioral states is also addressed in some detail. We propose an informed discussion of conceptual foundations with respect to neurobiological results as a viable step to a fruitful future philosophy of neuroscience. (shrink)
Summary. We discuss a specific way in which the notion of complementarity can be based on the dynamics of the system considered. This approach rests on an epistemic representation of system states, reflecting our knowledge about a system in terms of coarse grainings (partitions) of its phase space. Within such an epistemic quantization of classical systems, compatible, comparable, commensurable, and complementary descriptions can be precisely characterized and distinguished from each other. Some tentative examples are indicated that, we suppose, would have (...) been of interest to Pauli. (shrink)
The relevance of the Cartesian cut as a conceptual tool to separate matter and mind in the tradition of a dualistic world view is addressed. Modern science has developed an increasing number of concepts requiring that such a cut be considered neither as a priori prescribed nor as impenetrable. Two important examples are the concepts of complexity and meaning. They are subjects of physics as the science of matter and cognitive science as the science of the mind, respectively. Their mutual (...) relationships are discussed to some detail, and certain elements of a `post-Cartesian' way of thinking are indicated. (shrink)
One among many misleading quotations about the alleged mysteries of quantum theory is from Feynman (1965): Today we know that quantum theory describes many aspects of our world in a fully intelligible fashion. Pothos & Busemeyer (P&B) propose ways in which this may include psychology and cognitive science.
This chapter analyzes the different ways to describe brain behaviour with the goal to provide a basis for an informed discussion of the nature of decisions and actions that humans perform in their lives. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 outlines a number of concepts exhibiting how many subtle details and distinctions lie behind the broad notions of determinacy and stochasticity. These details are necessary for a discussion, in Section 3, of particular aspects relevant for the characterization of (...) brain states and their dynamics. The descriptions of brain behaviour currently provided by neuroscience depend on the level and context of the descriptions. There is no clear-cut evidence for ultimately determinate or ultimately stochastic brain behaviour. As a consequence, there is no solid neurobiological basis to argue either in favour of or against any fundamental determination or openness of human decisions and actions. (shrink)
The traditional formalism of quantum mechanics is mainly used to describe ensembles of identical systems (with a density-operator formalism) or single isolated systems, but is not capable of describing single open quantum objects with many degrees of freedom showing pure-state stochastic dynamical behaviour. In particular, stochastic 'line-migration' as in single-molecule spectroscopy of defect molecules in a molecular matrix is not adequately described. Starting with the Bohr scenario of stochastic quantum jumps (between strict energy eigenstates), we try to incorporate more general (...) pure-state stochastic dynamical behaviour into the quantum mechanical formalism.Probability distributions of (approximately) pure states, arising through the stochastic pure-state dynamics for long times, give rise to appropriate decompositions of thermal density operators. These decompositions of density operators into pure states mediate between quantum mechanics for ensembles of molecules and quantum theory for single molecules (or single dressed quantum objects). We suggest that such decompositions should be consistent with infinite limits (e.g. the Born-Oppenheimer limit for infinite nuclear masses) in the sense that quantum fluctuations (around classical behaviour in the infinite limit) die out asymptotically. (shrink)
A key topic in the work of Burghard Rieger is the notion of meaning. To explore this notion, he and his collaborators developed a most sophisticated approach combining theoretical ideas and concepts of semiotics with empirical and numerical tools of computational linguistics. In the present contribution, relations of Rieger’s achievements to some issues of interest in the physics and philosophy of complex systems will be addressed.
Traditional philosophical discourse draws a distinction between ontology and epistemology and generally enforces this distinction by keeping the two subject areas separated and unrelated. In addition, the relationship between the two areas is of central importance to physics and philosophy of physics. For instance, all kinds of measurement-related problems force us to consider both our knowledge of the states and observables of a system (epistemic perspective) and its states and observables independent of such knowledge (ontic perspective). This applies to quantum (...) systems in particular. (shrink)
More than thirty years ago, Amari and colleagues proposed a statistical framework for identifying structurally stable macrostates of neural networks from observations of their microstates. We compare their stochastic stability criterion with a deterministic stability criterion based on the ergodic theory of dynamical systems, recently proposed for the scheme of contextual emergence and applied to particular inter-level relations in neuroscience. Stochastic and deterministic..
The behavior of Lyapunov exponents λ and dynamical entropies h, whose positivity characterizes chaotic motion, under Lorentz and Rindler transformations is studied. Under Lorentz transformations, λ and h are changed, but their positivity is preserved..
Dual-aspect approaches (or double-aspect approaches)consider mental and material domains of reality as aspects, or manifestations, of one underlying, unseparated reality. In such a framework, the distinction between mind and matter can be regarded as a basic tool for achieving epistemic access to, i.e. gather knowledge about, both the separated do- mains and the underlying reality. In this sense, the status of the underlying, psychophysically neutral domain is ontic relative to the mind-matter distinction.
Mind and Matter is conceived as an interdisciplinary journal, aimed at an educated readership interested in all aspects of mind-matter research from the perspectives of the sciences and humanities. It is devoted to the publication of empirical, theoretical, and conceptual research and the discussion of its results. The main subject areas of the journal are -- neuroscience, cognitive science, behavioral science -- physical approaches, mathematical modeling, data analysis -- philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, applied metaphysics --cultural and social studies, (...) history of ideas. (shrink)
In June 1998 Hans Primas turned 70 y ears old. Although he himself is not fond of jubilees and although he lik es to play the decimal system of numb ers do wn as contingent, this is nev ertheless a suitable o ccasion to re ect on the professional work of one of the rare distinguished contemp orary scientists who attach equal imp ortance to exp erimen tal and theoretical and conceptual lines of researc h. Hans Primas' in terests ha (...) ve covered an enormous range: metho ds and instruments for n uclear magnetic resonance, theoretical c hemistry , C - and W -algebraic formulations of quantum mechanics, the measurement problem and its various implications, holism and realism in quantum theory , theory reduction, the w ork and p ersonality of Wolfgang Pauli, as well as Jungian psychology . In man y of these elds he provided imp ortan t and original fo o d for though t, in some cases going far b eyond the ev eryda y business in the scientic world. As is the case with other scien tists who are conceptually innov ativ e, Hans Primas is read more than he is quoted. His in uence is due to his writings. Even with the current ood of publications, he still p erforms the miracle of ha ving scientists eagerly a waiting his next publication. His external life, by wa y of contrast, is not very sp ectacular. With the exception of a brief p erio d as a guest professor at Washington Univ ersity at St. Louis, he has never b een a wa y from Zuric h for an y length of time. He has nev er b een a warded an y prizes, nev er organized a congress, nev er done any organizational work in a scientic so ciety . He delib erately distanced himself from the hustle and bustle of national and in ternational scien tic business. (shrink)
Jason Brown started his career as a neurologist specializing in language disorders, perceptive illusions, and impaired action. But beyond his activity as a physician he is a man of genuinely theoretical appetite. As satisfying as it is to help improve the situation of sick fellow humans, this alone does not characterize him well. Those who know him closer know his insistent urge to find a philosophical framework for his clinical practice and research, together with his desire for a more humane (...) society. Those who do not know him will see this immediately when they read his most recent book Process and the authentic life (Brown 2006). This is, in a nutshell, how and why Brown came to look into process philosophy, as an alternative to philosophical systems focusing on substances such as the Cartesian res cogitans and res extensa, on which science and technology are essentially based. Process philosophy holds some radical deviations from these systems, and may be regarded as complementary to them (Roemer 2006), although any such convergence is hotly contested (e.g., Bickhard 2004). Best known among adherents of a process worldview is Whitehead with his opus magnum Process and Reality. Brown’s approach is clearly in the spirit of Whitehead’s. However, due to his medical and psychological background it differs in motivation, and consequently it differs in the way it is carried out. While Whitehead, originally a mathematician, tried to be as precise and detailed as possible in his definitions, arguments and conclusions, Brown strives for his humanistic goal more directly. His accounts are based on examples rather than formal inferences, everyday experiences rather than abstract constructions. (shrink)
The fundamental problem on which Ilya Prigogine and the Brussels- Austin Group have focused can be stated briefly as follows. Our observations indicate that there is an arrow of time in our experience of the world (e.g., decay of unstable radioactive atoms like Uranium, or the mixing of cream in coffee). Most of the fundamental equations of physics are time reversible, however, presenting an apparent conflict between our theoretical descriptions and experimental observations. Many have thought that the observed arrow of (...) time was either an artifact of our observations or due to very special initial conditions. An alternative approach, followed by the Brussels-Austin Group, is to consider the observed direction of time to be a basic physical phenomenon due to the dynamics of physical systems. This essay focuses mainly on recent developments in the Brussels-Austin Group after the mid 1980s. The fundamental concerns are the same as in their earlier approaches (subdynamics, similarity transformations), but the contemporary approach utilizes rigged Hilbert space (whereas the older approaches used Hilbert space). While the emphasis on nonequilibrium statistical mechanics remains the same, their more recent approach addresses the physical features of large Poincar´. (shrink)
In Beyond Physicalism, an interdisciplinary group of physical scientists, behavioral and social scientists, and humanists from the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research argue that physicalism must be replaced by an expanded scientific naturalism that accommodates something spiritual at the heart of nature.
A major driving force behind the attention that cognitive neuroscience has received in recent decades is the deep mystery of how consciousness is related to brain activity. Many scientists have been fascinated by the wealth of empirical data for individual neurons, neural assemblies, brain areas, and related psychological and behavioral features, and by progressively powerful computational tools to simulate corresponding cortical networks. At the same time, the interested public has been attracted by fancy illustrations of brain activity (e.g., from imaging (...) techniques) and by pretentious claims of neural solutions to basic philosophical problems (e.g., free will versus determinism) in popular magazines and newspapers. However, heaps of data, extensive simulations, pretty pictures and bold statements cannot replace the insight that is inevitable to relate the available facts to one another in an intelligible manner. I am talking about the old-fashioned stance that understanding is the ultimate goal of scientiﬁc eﬀort. In this respect, the need for new conceptual and theoretical ideas in cognitive neuroscience begins to be recognized by prominent representatives of the ﬁeld. Theory in this sense must not be confused with models ﬁtting data, e.g. by regression algorithms, cluster analyses, etc. It is uncontroversial that experimental and numerical work is and will remain mandatory for scientiﬁc progress. But it can only unfold its full value if it is embedded within a profound theoretical framework. To formulate a serious, clear-cut and transparent formal framework for cognitive neuroscience is a challenge comparable to the early stage of physics four centuries ago. Only very few approaches worth mentioning are visible in contemporary literature. I think that Wallace’s book presents an appreciable step in the right direction. However, it is not the ultimate breakthrough yet. Much is left for future work before a full-ﬂedged theory of consciousness will be established. In two central conceptual respects, Wallace builds on earlier work: Dretske’s (1981) usage of informational terms in consciousness research and Baars’ (1988) global neuronal workspace model.. (shrink)