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Perception, Evolution, and the Mind-Body Problem Don Hoffman.

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Presentation on theme: "Perception, Evolution, and the Mind-Body Problem Don Hoffman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Perception, Evolution, and the Mind-Body Problem Don Hoffman

2 Mind-Body Problem What is the relationship between biology and conscious experience?

3 Science Top Open Questions What is the universe made of? What is the biological basis of consciousness?

4 Edelman Wider Than The Sky There is now a vast amount of empirical evidence to support the idea that consciousness emerges from the organization and operation of the brain... The question then becomes: What features of the body and brain are necessary and sufficient for consciousness to appear?

5 Koch The Quest For Consciousness The fundamental question at the heart of the mind-body problem is, what is the relation between the conscious mind and the electro- chemical interactions in the body that give rise to it? How do [conscious experiences] emerge from networks of neurons?

6 V1 Extrastriate V8 V5 Rivalry NCC

7 Type Physicalism Token Physicalism Reductive Functionalism Nonreductive Functionalism Representationalism Eliminative Materialism Philosophical Theories

8 40 Hz Oscillations Claustrum Information Integration Tubulins Neural Action Templates Scientific Theories

9 Taste of garlic, smell of rose 40 Hz? Claustrum? Information Integration? Tubulins? Neural Action Templates? Hints − Not Theories “... then a miracle occurs...”

10 McGinn Mind We know that brains are the de facto causal basis of consciousness, but we have, it seems, no understanding whatever of how this can be so.

11 Thomas Huxley Mind How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of Djin when Aladdin rubbed his lamp.

12 Pinker How the Mind Works Our thoroughgoing perplexity about the enigmas of consciousness, self, will and knowledge may come from a mismatch between the very nature of these problems and the computational apparatus that natural selection has fitted us with.

13 Perception as faithful depiction Physicalist ontology Question Key Assumptions

14 Hypothesis of Faithful Depiction A goal of perception is to match or approximate true properties of an objective physical environment.

15 Theories of Perception Direct Indirect

16 Gibson Ecological Approach The environment consists of the earth and the sky, with objects on the earth and in the sky, of mountains and clouds, fires and sunsets, pebbles and stars... the environment is all these various things − places, surfaces, layouts, motions, events, animals, people, and artifacts that structure the light at points of observation.

17 Purves’ Cube

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22 Anderson’s Moons

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27 Yuille and Buelthoff Perception as Bayesian Inference We define vision as perceptual inference, the estimation of scene properties from an image or sequence of images... The brain...must make assumptions about the real world.

28 Lehar BBS The perceptual modeling approach reveals the primary function of perception as that of generating a fully spatial virtual-reality replica of the external world in an internal representation.

29 Purves and Lotto Why We See What We Do... what observers actually experience in response to any visual stimulus is its accumulated statistical meaning (i.e., what the stimulus has turned out to signify in the past)...

30 Noe and Regan Vision and Mind Perceivers are right to take themselves to have access to environmental detail... the environmental detail is present, lodged, as it is, right there before individuals and... they therefore have access to that detail by the mere movement of their eyes or bodies.

31 Palmer Vision Science Evolutionarily speaking, visual perception is useful only if it is reasonably accurate... Indeed, vision is useful precisely because it is so accurate. By and large, what you see is what you get. When this is true, we have what is called veridical perception... perception that is consistent with the actual state of affairs in the environment. This is almost always the case with vision.

32 Pinker How the Mind Works We are organisms, not angels, and our minds are organs, not pipelines to the truth. Our minds evolved by natural selection to solve problems that were life-and-death matters to our ancestors, not to commune with correctness.

33 Multimodal User Interface MUI The conscious perceptual experiences of an agent are a multimodal user interface between that agent and an objective world.

34 Human MUI Species-specific Friendly formatting Concealed causality Clued conduct Ostensible objectivity

35 Virtual tennis Friendly formatting Concealed causality Clued conduct Ostensible objectivity VR Example

36 Veridical perceptions? Public physical objects? I make the moon? Step in front of train? Tables made of atoms? Icons should do what I want? Objections

37 Subjective Necker Cube

38 Conscious Realism The objective world consists of conscious agents.

39 Conscious Realism Objective Conscious agent Why?

40 Conscious Observer

41 Mind-Body Problem Physicalist: Describe precisely how consciousness arises from, or is identical to, certain types of physical systems. Conscious Realist: Describe precisely how conscious agents construct physical objects and their properties.

42 Conscious Realist Progress Objects Color Motion Shape

43 Questions Panpsychism? Kantian idealism? Causality? Epiphysicalism

44 Perception, Evolution, and the Mind-Body Problem Thanks to Bruce Bennett and Chetan Prakash


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