RE: A Universe of Consciousness.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Jul 05 2002 - 10:16:57 MDT

Your disagreement with Edelman is the same as mine: He has this stupid idea
that connectionist, differential-equations-based processes cannot be
simulated using discrete digital processes. I think he's just obviously
wrong. I still like his ideas anyway, even though he makes this one
elementary mistake. I think this mistake is largely borne of his ignorance
of theoretical computer science and theoretical physics. Roger Penrose
makes a less ignorant case for the noncomputability of brain/mind, though I
think he's wrong too...

In terms of the comparison between consciousness and a sensory modality, I
guess this exists in his book only at a high level of abstraction ;) The
neural structures that he suggests for consciousness are very similar to
neural structures for sensory perception. it's just that they involve more
re-entrance, so that the neural-map-building circuitry is used to observe
the inner workings of the mind rather than the outputs of perceptual


  -----Original Message-----
  From: []On Behalf Of
Mike & Donna Deering
  Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2002 2:43 PM
  Subject: A Universe of Consciousness.

  Ben Goertzel, The book you recommended "A UNIVERSE OF CONSCIOUSNESS" by
Gerald M. Edelman and Giulio Tononi, in response to my comment that
consciousness might have some things in common with a sensory modality,
turns out to be not exactly as you stated. I read the whole book carefully
and at no point did it make any comparisons between consciousness and a
sensory modality. Nevertheless, I am glad you recommended it. It is an
excellent book. I learned a lot of neuroanatomy. The book included a
complete model of the functioning brain. I can't say that I didn't have
some disagreements with the author, but it was still enlightening to see
another point of view, stimulating new perspectives. It basically proposed
that consciousness was a network of corticothalamic circuits with peripheral
algorithmic subprocesses in the amygdale and cerebellum. His contention
that consciousness is not algorithmic but rather connectionist relational in
nature does not bode well for my particular preference in AI design. He
states that consciousness is not the result of a deterministic process but
requires the fuzziness of a biological substrate. Personally, I thing any
fuzzy connectionists process can be simulated by an algorithmic
deterministic design.


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