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A Neural Theory of Mind

G K GRAY gord at homostudy.win-uk.net
Sat Apr 27 03:11:20 EST 1996

In article <811762780wnr at grithill.demon.co.uk>, robin walker (rwalker at grithill.demon.co.uk) writes:
>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 
>> |> 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 
>> |> At the top of sW is the concept of "self" which is the nucleus around which all other concepts, with complexity 
>> |> 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 
>> |> speculate that some trauma has resulted in the pyramid having two or more peaks of the same complexity level, all 
>> |> sub-sets of the same lower order concepts but only one having attention (i.e. being in control) at one time. (Probably 
>> |> one concept at a given level can ever have attention at one time.) Of course a good method actor has something 
>> |> except his acting persona are represented by smaller peaks on the flanks of the complexity pyramid and are 
>> |> 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
>Reply to; gord at homostudy.win-uk,net

There is an alternative view of self to be found in "The Death of
Forever" by Darryl Reanney. Arguing from Richard Dawkins' "Selfish
Gene" concept he concludes that the idea is an illusion generated
by the basic drive to perpetuate the gene line, a drive that leads
us ultimately into misery.  

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