Why Sergio’s computationalism is not enough

Not that long ago Sergio Graziosi wrote two guest posts for Conscious Entities blog. The blog is entirely devoted to the topic of consciousness – problems, theories, concepts, ideas, all there is to it. The blog is run by Peter Hankins, author of a book about the subject The Shadow of Consciousness (A Little Less Wrong).

In this post I would like to dissect ideas and arguments behind the idea of computationalism as the best means of understanding brains, minds, and maybe even consciousness.



Free Energy Principle – A quick look and some concerns

The blogosphere is humming about Free Energy Principle – an interesting and general take on brain function that sees the brain as performing only one task: maintaining proper homeostasis of the organism through the good use of an internal model of the environment. What does this theory purports to be? What problems and concerns can be identified with this approach? Does it have a chance of becoming a number one theory of the mind and brain?


Predictions from Complex Mind Theory: Understanding and confusion

Mind is a complex dynamical system of mental events that happen in the brain. How can we characterize important mental phenomena in this framework, such as understanding or confusion? What prediction can we derive from a theory of the mind founded on complexity science, more specifically as it relates to these mental phenomena?

In this short essay I try to show that complicated, nontrivial mental phenomena of understanding and confusion can be elegantly characterized from the perspective of complexity science. I also make an attempt at pointing to real predictions of the Complex Mind Theory that can be translated into experimental procedures that would eventually help in deepening of our understanding of the mind and the brain.


On the “Structural qualia: a solution to the hard problem of consciousness” by Kristjan Loorits

The hard problem of consciousness, the question of how conscious experiences (qualia) arise out of brain activity, is haunting neuroscientific community so much, because there doesn’t seem to be any plan, any idea on how to even tackle this issue. Kristjan Loorits in his new article Structural qualia: a solution to the hard problem of consciousness, building on work done by Francis Crick and Christoff Koch, proposes that the best way to proceed is to analyze the structure of qualia (what they are composed of, how do they relate to themselves and to brain activity), so that they will be much easier for science to explain them, by linking them (by causal relations or other) to already known facts.


The “I” – an illusion or a complex dynamical system

In many cultures at various times the idea that the self or I is illusory showed up. The thought that me doesn’t exist happened to be thought by many thinkers. The similarities between these perspectives are striking. Is there a strong argument for seeing the self as an illusion, a misunderstanding of ourselves?

I present an overview of such ideas and a counter proposal. Namely, I propose to regard self as a complex self-organizing system submerged in the mind.

Mind is not an information processor

In modern science and in popular belief mind is understood as a highly sophisticated computer – a machine that calculates, computes, runs algorithms to produce thought, understand language, control behavior. From some time, alternative ideas pop up in areas of cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience. In particular, it can be seen that a perspective of complex systems and dynamical systems is employed in attempts to research, characterize and understand what mind is and how does it work.