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Title: Mind out of matter : topics in the physical foundations of consciousness and cognition
Author: Mulhauser, Gregory Robert
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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This dissertation begins with an exploration of a brand of dual aspect monism and some problems deriving from the distinction between a first person and third person point of view. I continue with an outline of one way in which the conscious experience of the subject might arise from organisational properties of a material substrate. With this picture to hand, I first examine theoretical features at the level of brain organisation which may be required to support conscious experience and then discuss what bearing some actual attributes of biological brains might have on such experience. I conclude the first half of the dissertation with comments on information processing and with artificial neural networks meant to display simple varieties of the organisational features initially described abstractly. While the first half begins with a view of conscious experience and infers downwards in the organisational hierarchy to explore neural features suggested by the view, attention in the second half shifts towards analysing low level dynamical features of material substrates and inferring upwards to possible effects on experience. There is particular emphasis on clarifying the rôle of chaotic dynamics, and I discuss relationships between levels of description of a cognitive system and comment on issues of complexity, computability, and predictability before returning to the topic of representation which earlier played a central part in isolating features of brain organisation which may underlie conscious experience. Some themes run throughout the dissertation, including an emphasis on understanding experience from both the first person and the third person points of view and on analysing the latter at different levels of description.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available