A Neural Theory of Mind

robin walker rwalker at grithill.demon.co.uk
Fri Apr 26 08:01:45 EST 1996


In article: <4lop09$1323 at itssrv1.ucsf.edu>  paul at phy.ucsf.edu (Paul Bush) writes:
> 
> I think you bring up a very important concept, even though I don't agree with the
> first bit:
> 
> In article <191790551wnr at grithill.demon.co.uk>, robin walker <rwalker at grithill.demon.co.uk> writes:
> |> 
> |> I fully agree with your idea of a complexity pyramid, but respectfully suggest that in this last section you are missing 
the 
> |> point. There may well be a single concept at the top of W but this is not the same as the single concept at the top of 
sW.
> |> At the top of sW is the concept of "self" which is the nucleus around which all other concepts, with complexity 
decreasing 
> |> inversly with radius, orbit. 
> 
> I think the concept of self is obviously a large part of each sW, but as we
> approach the most complex concepts, the final knowledge singularity, the
> objective structure of W becomes such a massive constraint that the top concept
> is almost independent of data and therefore subjectivity. There can only be one
> top concept, and it is objective. I don't know. This stuff is weird.
> 

I suppose I am arrogant enough to believe that human self awareness, and thus the concept of self,
_is_ the most complex concept we know. This is not to say that the top concept in W is not as you 
suggest, just that the average sW does not encompass this and therefore it is not at the
top of the sW pyramid. It is a very, very fair point that in certain sW's, notably, as you mention, 
one that has absorbed the teachings of Buddism, the top concept may be a subjective construct
based on the belief in a certain top concept in W. Maybe that belief is, in fact, corrent, however we are,
IMHO, still far from any final understanding of W.

I don't believe that it is necessary to know into what class the top concept in a sW falls in order to 
study the way this concept arises in a developing sW but it's a wicked discussion point.

> |> Putting "self" at the top solves some interesting problems, not least the puzzle of multiple personalities where one 
could 
> |> speculate that some trauma has resulted in the pyramid having two or more peaks of the same complexity level, all 
using 
> |> sub-sets of the same lower order concepts but only one having attention (i.e. being in control) at one time. (Probably 
only 
> |> one concept at a given level can ever have attention at one time.) Of course a good method actor has something 
similar 
> |> except his acting persona are represented by smaller peaks on the flanks of the complexity pyramid and are 
therefore 
> |> subordinate to the central self and can be properly integrated. Control can be temporarily passed to the role without 
> |> attention ever being totally lost by the "self".
> 
> Yes, I think something exactly like this goes on. Not just for personality (in
> orbitofrontal cortex?), but for every brain process. A pyramid (or cone) of
> neurons for every behavior you exhibit, based in the entire feature space of the
> lowest sensory cortex, peaking to a few (one?) neurons in higher association 
> cortex. Other people have had the same idea before us. The higher the cone, the 
> more attention must be devoted to it to build it further. New behavior patterns 
> split off old ones, as you said. I will say more about this in my next post. 
> 

I admit to being somewhat unread so if someone has written on this specific idea
a reference would be very welcome.

> Paul
> 
> 
> 
> 
-- 
Robin Walker




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