This issue also contains some review articles.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 168-81
Max-Planck-Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik,
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.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 182-195
University of Edinburgh,
Consciousness has been widely regarded as the central arena for the mental solution of problems. A variant view locates the business end of problem solving elsewhere, with conscious intervention only for intermittent monitoring and goal-setting. In this scenario conscious awareness, with `intelligent' processes generally, is largely specialized to the construction and communication of appropriate after-the-event histories and explanations.The first part of the paper traces a long march undertaken by main-stream artificial intelligence basing itself on the first assumption. Disappointment with the result has prompted interest in the second view, which forms the main topic of Part 2 (JCS, 2 (1), 1995, pp. 52-66).
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 196-200
Todd C. Moody,
Department of Philosophy,
St. Joseph's University,
5600 City Avenue,
The problem of `conscious inessentialism' is examined in the literature, and an argument is presented that the presence of consciousness is indeed marked by a behavioural difference, but that this should be looked for at the cultural level of speech communities.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 201-204
Euan J. Squires,
Department of Mathematical Sciences,
University of Durham,
Durham DH1 3LE,
It is argued that the main reason why quantum theory is relevant to consciousness is that the theory cannot be completely defined without introducing some features of consciousness.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 205-216
Supreme Court of New South Wales,
This article looks at two approaches to the human brain and to the causation of behaviour: the objective approach of neuroscience, which treats the brain as a physical system operating in accordance with physical laws of general application; and the subjective approach of folk psychology, which treats people, and thus their brains and minds, as making choices or decisions on the basis of beliefs, desires, etc. It suggests three ways in which these two approaches might be related, two physicalist and one non-physicalist; and argues, with reference to ethical and legal issues, that there are strong commonsense grounds for preferring the non-physicalist alternative, and that science does not justify its rejection. It is suggested that a considerable onus of proof lies on proponents of physicalist approaches, having regard to the implications of such approaches for important issues of justice and human rights.In this paper, I outline two approaches to the human brain, involving two different views of the causation of human behaviour; and I consider how these two approaches might be linked or related. The first is the objective approach of neuroscience, which treats the human brain as a physical object, operating in accordance with the same physical laws as other physical objects. The second is the subjective approach of folk psychology, which we apply both in our ordinary interactions with other people and in our thinking about our own behaviour; and which treats people (and so their brains and minds) as choosing or deciding what to do on the basis of their beliefs, desires and so on.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 217-229
Christian de Quincey,
Institute of Noetic Sciences,
475 Gate Five Road,
This paper examines two objections by Colin McGinn to panexperientialist metaphysics as a solution to the mind-body problem. It begins by briefly stating how the `ontological problem' of the mind-body relationship is central to the philosophy of mind, summarizes the difficulties with dualism and materialism, and outlines the main tenets of panexperientialism. Panexperientialists, such as David Ray Griffin, claim that theirs is one approach to solving the mind-body problem which does not get stuck in accounting for interaction (as in dualism) nor in the difficulties with emergentism and epiphenomenalism (as in materialism). McGinn attacks panexperientialism on two fronts: (1) the Whiteheadian distinction between `consciousness' and `experience' and the notion of consciousness emerging from `non-conscious experience'; and (2) the implicit `absurdities' inherent in the notion of experience and self-agency in the fundamental particles of physics. Griffin's defence fails to satisfactorily address challenge (1); though a model is presented by the author which may offer panexperientialism a way out. McGinn's challenge (2) is an attempted reductio which Griffin rejects: that panexperientialism contradicts the evidence of modern quantum- relativistic physics. The author's analysis of the opposing positions shows that both philosophers are arguing from incompatible `geometries of discourse' and radically inconsistent metaphysical assumptions. The paper concludes that a resolution of both the mind-body problem in general, and of the McGinn-Griffin dispute in particular, needs to involve an epistemological shift to include extra-rational ways of knowing.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 241-249
University of Oxford,
24–29 St. Giles,
Oxford OX1 3LB,
The following is an edited version of Roger Penrose's lecture at the Fifth Mind and Brain Symposium at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, on 29 October 1994, introducing the themes of his recent book Shadows of the Mind. The talk begins by outlining some options for the modelling of the relationship between consciousness and computation, and provides evidence for a model in which it is not possible even in principle to simulate mathematical understanding computationally. It is argued that mathematical understanding is on a continuum with consciousness in general, and that non-computability is a feature of all consciousness. The talk then goes on to outline some of the problems of the relationship between quantum and classical physics and proposes a new theory of `objective reduction' by quantum gravity to bridge the explanatory gap. The talk concludes by examining cytoskeletal microtubules as a possible site for quantum-coherent events in the brain. It is suggested that this might be the physical basis of conscious events.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 253-5
Institut fuer Kernphysik,
Technische Hochschule Darmstadt,
The first issue of JCS published an interview with Roger Penrose on his recent book Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness (Clark, 1994). In it Professor Penrose, among other subjects, presented his views on the role of quantum mechanics on our way towards a better understanding of brain functioning and its relation to consciousness. In this note we comment on some aspects of his reasoning.
JCS, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 264-74
Supreme Court of New South Wales,
This is a review article about John Searle's most recent book The Rediscovery of the Mind, which criticizes it for not going far enough in its departure from orthodox materialistic views of the brain and mind. It argues that Searle's two central propositions, (1) consciousness is irreducible and (2) consciousness cannot cause anything that cannot be explained by the causal behaviour of neurons, are incompatible; and suggests that it is reasonable and scientifically respectable to reject the latter rather than the former.