The scientific status of cognitive neuroscience (CNS)
Cognitive neuroscience and the hyperverse Gabriel Vacariu (Bucharest Univ.) Introduction: The main problem: the mind-body (brain) problem Philosophy of mind: Descartes dualism, identity theory (Place and Smart), eliminativism (Churchlands), non-reductive physicalism, property dualism, brain produces mind (Searle 92, Frith 07), supervenience, etc. + notions: mind-brain, qualia, mental causation Cognitive science in 50s Usually, identity theory or property dualism or brain produces mind (Searle 92, Frith 07, Libet 80s)
Approaches: Computationalism, connectionism, dynamical system (embodied/situated cognition) Main problems: Representation (existence, content, format), levels, emergence, etc. CNS: Neuroscience + Psychology Gazzaniga + Miller (cognitive psychologist) coined CNS in taxi (New York, late 70s) : How the brain enables the mind. [allow, permit, assist] CNS: Correlations mental and neuronal states = = Mind-brain (body) problem Difference neuronal patterns-mental states: ontological, epistemological (depend on observer??), linguistic? PROBLEMS of CNS
I. The binding problem Binding: widely distributed neural areas correlated with features of representation of object (color, size, motion, orientation) perceptual image of object Forms of binding: spatial or temporal, conscious or unconscious, visual, auditory, cognitive, cross-modal binding, sensory-motor binding, memory binding Binding - almost everywhere in the brain and in all processing levels. (Velik 2010) Approaches for the binding problem (1) Treismans feature-integration theory Old-fashion approach Attention (difficult for CNS) Many critics Treisman improved FIT (Ptolemaic epicycles)
(2) Synchronized oscillations (EEG) Von der Malsburg, Engel, Gray, Singer, Fries, TallonBaudry, etc. Synchronized oscillations: binding, unity of consciousness Frequency bands Cognitive functions Delta - sleep, theta - memory, alpha - vigilance fluctuations, beta and gamma ranges - awake stages + feature binding, attention, and memory. (Tallon-Baudry 2010) From 0.1 to 120-200 Hz then 0.01-1000 Hz! Multiplex between fast and slow waves No strict correspondence between a frequency band and a cognitive process! (Tallon-Baudry 10, 09) II. Localization and fMRI
fMRI and localization 2 extreme theories (grand cell vs. holistic theories) Today, in the middle: A mental state correlated with widely distributed neuronal areas. Widely? How much? It depends on our tools of observation (their structure + performance). Localization (neuronal) of features (color, size, space, edges, motion, direction) Unification of perceptual features = Binding problem Banich & Compton (10)- Expression: about the area V4 has been posited to play a special role in color perception, although that claim has been controversial (or V5 for motion) (Many such expressions in CNS!) III. Perceptual filling Relationship between sensorial inputs and
perceptual states like constructive perception or perceptual filling in view: brain fills in perception of blind spot Brain fills color, patterns and motion Fovea subtends about 4 degree of visual arc regarding color. Outside of the fovea, which covers only 2 to 4 degrees of arc, the retina loses resolution and is sensitive only to light and dark edges. (It follows that our normal sense of a rich and colorful visual world is a construction of the visual brain, not a literal record of the input into the retina.) (Baars and Gage 2010, p. 272) IV. Cross modal interactions/multimodal integration Someone perceives an object that has a color + shape + in motion within spatiotemporal frame. If these properties - processed independently (not
completely) what mechanism furnishes unity of a coherent conscious experience of a visual + auditory + motion scene? Traditional: modular system (Fodor) Sensory modalities --- different pathways in brain, but how they communicate A unified mental representation? V. Raichles default network (2006, 2011) The brain apparently uses most of its energy for functions unaccounted for dark energy Brain: demands of environment - less than 1%; energy consumption necessary for changes in brain activity is less than 5%! Cost of intrinsic functional activity which far exceeds that of evoked activity and dominates the overall
cost of brain function. (Raichle 2009) Task-specific decreases from a resting state occur in many areas of the brain Intrinsic activity: spontaneous cognition, intrinsic functional activity facilitates responses to stimuli, interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands fMRI and PET do not furnish information about this intrinsic energy of the brain VI. Types of knowledge Conscious-unconscious Implicit-explicit Procedural-declarative Automatic-controlled
Accessible-inaccessible These kinds of knowledge overlap, but they are not identical! Conscious and unconscious states Vimal (2009): a list of 40 different meanings of consciousness, not exhaustive. (in Uttal 2011) Baars (1988, 2006): Consciousness = Results of unconsciousness processes (accepted by many) = Global workspace theory (Baars 1988, 2002) Edelman (1989), Damasio (1989), Freeman (1991), Llins et al. (1998), Edelman, Tononi (2000), Kanwisher (2001), Dehaene, Naccache (2001), Rees (2001), John (2001), Varela et al. (2001), etc. Relations between conscious-unconscious states? Relations between correlated brain states?
Other problems All other problems (notions) from CS/CNS: levels, emergence, whole-parts, holism vs. atomism, selforganization, threshold, variability-stability, etc. 2D to 3D-space, mental imagery (Kosslyn-Pylyshyn eternal debate), endurance problem (continuity) of mental representation of an object, role of neurotransmitters or glia, self and meaning, etc. Spatial cognition VII. Van Wedeen (2012): new image for anatomical structure of brain [Movie 1: Van Wedeen (2012), 3 min] Diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) Brain = Geometric structure of cerebral fiber pathways
Rhesus monkey superior longitudinal fasciculus-3 (SLF3): entirely consists of a single curved twodimensional (2D) sheet of paths, all mutually parallel, transversely oriented, and all crossing SLF3 at nearly right angles (p. 1630) This grid structure: continuous with those of limbic system and basal ganglia + at all scales (single voxel, to the lobe, to the hemisphere) + all species! Completely new image for anatomical structure of the brain: Far from being just a tangle of wires, the brains white-matter connections turn out to be more like ribbon cables folding 2D sheets of parallel neuronal fibers that cross paths at right angles, like the warp and weft of a fabric.
VIII. Optimism vs. skepticism in CNS Optimism: Many researchers working in CNS Gallants laboratory and mind-reading (1) Nishimoto et al. (2011) [Movie 2: Gallant + Nishimoto (2011), 3 min] Mind-reading: brain activity measurements Reconstruct natural movies (V1, V2, V3) Dictionaries for shape, edge and motion Each voxel has a dictionary Against Gallant, Uttal (11): Not reconstruction per se; selecting from a predetermined deck of cards (Uttal 2011) (2) Huth et al. (2012) [Movie 3: Huth et al. (2012), 5 min] Identify semantic space of 1705 categories (objects/ categories) onto cortical surface using voxelwise
model Categories - located in brain in a continuous space: semantically similar categories - located nearby points (voxels 30,000) in cortex A color is assigned to each category Using principal component analysis (PCA): 4 dimensions (semantic space in brain, many dimens.) 4 dims: animacy, social interactions-nature, civilization, biological-nonbiological/animal-nonanimal Semantic space - represented in large parts of brain and mapped smoothly onto the cortical sheet Category representation - broadly distributed across the cortex The model does not clearly reflect visual and conceptual features
Voxels from occipital and temporal lobes - visual features of categories, voxels from medial parietal + frontal cortex - conceptual features Skepticism Bechtel (philosopher, San Diego) optimism but 2 years ago moved to skepticism! Uttal (CNS, not philosopher) (01, 11) fMRI and PET localize mental functions at macro-level (large neural patterns) = Wrong Mind at micro-level Neural network approach is computationally intractable Mind-body problem - not solved Each mental state associated widely distributed neuronal areas (whole brain)
IX. Correlations + status of CNS Today: Some people use both fMRI + EEG However, mental states have to be correlated with firing neurons/oscillations + neuromodulators and neurotransmitters, white and grey matter, glia cells, etc. = Whole brain But, due to evolution, we cannot isolate brain from body! Sporns (2006) Correlations? Can we construct a science? Any mental state correlated with whole brain! Different apparatus (EEG, fMRI, MEG, DTI, etc.) Different aspects of brains activity? Mind and brain are complementary aspects of thing-in-itself (Spinoza)? Waves and particles are complementary aspects of
noumena (Bohr) (ontological status? aspects) Correlations - no ontological status = No entities No relationships = No laws CNS is not science, but new engineering or pseudo-science! Mind-brain problem (+ all sub-problems) no acceptable solution after more than 300 years! Maybe mind-brain problem is a pseudo-problem? If yes, framework has to be wrong! Which one? Epistemologically Different Worlds (EDWs) Within world/universe: 4 scientific 4 problems = Dualities: 1. Mind-body (brain) (Cognitive Science)
2. Cell/organism-life (Biology) 3. Particle-wave (quantum mech.) (Physics) 4. Micro-macro (Einstein-quantum mec.) (Physics) All great problems in foundations of special sciences
My goal: The world/universe does not exist! But something else exist. What? Notions (a) Non-living entities that exist will be called it. (Singular -it) (Ex: it = a stone or a planet) (b) Living entities that exist = It. (It = organism of a bee or human) (c) The entity that corresponds to an It will be called being. Correct: Being is.; Incorrect: Being exists.. (Being = the I, mind, life, human subjectivity) (d) Correspondence refers to the conceptual /abstract (not real) relationships between entities that belong to EDWs.
(e) Interaction (for all entities) equivalents with human observation/perception ( f) Determinate refers to certain determinations/characteristics/traits; Indeterminate - determinations in possible states; Non-determinate - no determinations (g) Human being = the I or the self = Being Human organism = brain + body = It (h) What really exist 5 billions years ago in universe/ world? (No human being/living entity) Propositions for it: (1) Epistemologically different interactions constitute epistemologically different it, and epistemologically different it determine epistemologically different interactions.
(2) Any it exists only at "the surface" because of the interactions that constitute it. (3) Any it exists in a single EW and interacts only with the it from the same EW. (4) Any EW (a set of it and eventually It and their interactions) appears from and disappears in the hypernothing. (Humes skepticism: No causality vs. Kants optimism: a priori pure intuitions + categories) (5) Any EW is, therefore all EDWs have the same objective reality. World/universe = Unicorn-world = All entities/object that exist are placed within the same spatio-temporal framework.
EDWs: Unicorn-world does not exist Not all objects/entities exist in the same world. EDWs Parallel worlds/universes Strong distinction epistemologyontology (Plato) is wrong.
(P1) - To interact = to exist Bohrs complementarity (an epistemological, not ontological, notion) is a wrong notion. Exist used for entity with determinations In general, spatio-temporal framework Existence and interaction interrelated
Interactions constitute surface of an it Ontological reality in one EW = An it exist only in one EW Constitutions Determinations Parts-whole Organizational + epistemologicalontological thresholds
Mind-brain problem, quantum gravity = illicit extensions: Impossible to use Impossible to exist! Propositions for being and It: (6) Being corresponds to an It. (7) Being is an EW. Therefore, being is. (8) Having certain determinations, from our viewpoint an It is composed of an amalgam of It and their relationships. (9) Certain states and processes form knowledge (that is being). (10) As an entity, being has unity as indeterminate individuality.
It: Without any correspondence It does not survive in any environment. Coordination of biological functions needs an unity impossible to be used/exist within mechanisms of an It Such unity = the I! This unity corresponds to development of an It and evolution of species.
Any mental state/process is the I. CNS: Correlations? = No ontological status! Unity of consciousness/self within brain = Error (Analogy: Unity of table among microparticles) Each mental function = the I
The unity of the I represents indeterminate individuality of being. Indeterminate individuality = Entity with potential determinations The notion of being has no plural. Knowledge (perceptions, thoughts, actions) is
being. Representations of space or color is mind. However, no color in mind/brain No space! Without space, being is an indeterminate individuality with its (implicit) unity.
This unity cannot be identified using external tools of observation (fMRI, EEG). (Bohr: Definition of any entity includes tools of measurement!) Any knowledge is being (subjectivity). Different modalities (vision, auditory, etc.) Different kinds of mental perception = the I!
Internal feeling/external space/internal eyes (regression ad infinitum) = Wrong notions! Hyperverse Hyperverse = EDWs Abstract notion For ontological status, hyperverse needs interaction/ observation with/of an hyperentity (God).
Hyperentity that interacts with all ED entities cannot exist! (Hyperontological contradiction) From a humans viewpoint - not too many EDWs Extending conditions of (observation) interaction to all entities, number of EDWs increases a lot. Rejection of: levels, emergence, supervenience, composition, entanglement, nonlocality, complexity, some causalities (11) Being is, therefore EDWs are.
If being isn't, any It would not survive in its environment. Another 2 propositions = 13 propositions (about our knowledge: Bohrs definition of entity + serial attention) Mind and body (brain), waves and particles, micromacro, etc. are or belong to EDWs. Within the unicorn-world, pseudo-causalities
dominated our world (vs. Humes against causality + Kant: Hume awaked me up from my dogmatic sleep!) After Copernicus (Earth), Darwin (living species), Freud (reason) = Revolutions against myths in human thinking, I reject yet another myth: world, Universe From man: Center of Universe Alone in world Not even alone, but EDWs + the I = EW and an entity (unity)
Once again to mount a Copernican revolution for discarding our special status (observers of universe): World/Universe does not exist! Science - dualities: Those 4 problems are pseudo-relationships in unicorn-world = Pseudo-problems!
Other sub-problems = Pseudo-problems also EDWs perspective changes the largest Weltanschauung trashing the most tangible (but the most dangerous) notion, the world/universe EDWs (what really exist), a very strange image of reality!
However, Boltzmann: Matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor [clothes] and to the cobbler [shoes]. (Einstein 1916)
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