The Brain as an Emergent System and ...
Characterizer of/Participant in Emergent Systems
||Looking for the Pattern:
- From the head to the heart: Some thoughts on similarities between brain function
and morphogenesis, and on their significance for research methodology and
biological theory, 1988
- Variability in Brain Function and Behavior, 1994
- Who's Afraid of Emily Dickinson? Or ... How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Brain, 2002
- The Brain's Images: Co-Constructing Reality and the Self, 2002
- Getting It Less Wrong, The Brain's Way:
Science, Pragmatism, and Multiplism, 2002-2003
- Biology 202, Neurobiology and Behavior, current
- interacting "simple" elements
- yielding new properties at successive levels
- because of information loss and creation
- occuring at multiple levels of organizaton, both intra- and inter-personally
- in such a way as to yield irreversibility/novelty
(together with all the rest of human experience, understanding, culture)
- What is information "slippage"?
- Where does "lost" information go?
- What is "interpretaton"?
- How does consciousness relate to either or both? to thermodynamic irreversibility?
- Assemblies of assemblies of assemblies ... of assemblies of neurons
- Neurons (and all levels of assemblies) are input/output boxes (information processors, subject to/consistent with/making use of all know physical laws, including the second law of thermodynamics), interconnected with each other and (in minority of cases) with "outside" world
- non-linear, threshhold ("integrate and fire") processors at all levels from neuron up
- THEREFORE "irreversible" in sense that one cannot tell from output what input was
- therefore ALSO "categorizers", "interpreters" - treat lots of different things as same thing ("infinite bounded variant sets")
- therefore ALSO both information erasers and information creators, the latter by virtue of their own contained information ("improbable assembly"), hence "info slippage"
- include spontaneous and "randomizing" elements, which further erase/create information, make it difficult/impossible? to say what output will be for give input
- are altered by their own activity, creating strong history dependence, stigmergic effects, contributing to information addition/loss/alteration
Looking at a higher level of organization - Lateral inhibition
- again irreversibility
- again information loss and creation, based on pre-existing information/structure
- creation of new structure dependent on structure created by loss ("abstraction")
- "pattern recognition" as erasure, "info slippage"
- suggests still higher level of organization - painter/author and audience
And one level higher - the painter/author and the audience
- once again irreversibility
- once again information loss and creation, based on pre-existing information/structure
- creation of new structure dependent on structure created by loss
- info not "lost" but repackaged? greater improbability because of organization of previous improbabilities? details lost as abstraction becomes part of more complex structure?
- NO ONE IN CHARGE - bidirectional causation
- "consciousness" is extension of novelty generation by intepretation
- within laws of physics, including second law of thermodynamics
- is an emergent characteristic of a material exploratory process
- accelerates that process
And higher still - the brain as a part
- etc. as above?
- Fading Species and Dying Tongues - NY Times Science Times, 27 May 2003
- Language as compression/expansion (Norretranders, The User Illusion, 1998)
- Culture as compression/expansion?
- Brain a multilevel emergent system
- Depends on info gain and "loss"
- "Understanding" involves similar processes at different levels of organization
- Does not require something outside limits of second law of thermodynammics, but may require new construals of that law
- Do we see "reality" as emergent because of brain as an emergent system?
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Director: Liz McCormack -
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| Secretary: Lisa Kolonay
, by Center for Science in Society, Bryn Mawr College and Serendip
Monday, 02-Jun-2003 11:06:00 EDT