Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness

Cruse H, Schilling M (2015)
In: Open Mind. Metzinger T, Windt J (Eds);Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M.

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Book Chapter | Published | English
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Metzinger, Thomas ; Windt, Jennifer
Abstract
In this article we propose a bottom-up approach to higher-level mental states, such as emotions, attention, intention, volition, or consciousness. The idea behind this bottom-up approach is that higher-level properties may arise as emergent properties, i.e., occur without requiring explicit implementation of the phenomenon under examination. Using a neural architecture that shows the abilities of autonomous agents, we want to come up with quantitative hypotheses concerning cognitive mechanisms, i.e., to come up with testable predictions concerning the underlying structure and functioning of an autonomous system that can be tested in a robot-control system. We do not want to build an artificial system that is, for example, conscious in the first place. On the contrary, we want to construct a system able to control behavior. Only then will this system be used as a tool to test to what extent descriptions of mental phenomena used in psychology or philosophy of mind may be applied to such an artificial system. Originally these phenomena are necessarily defined using verbal formulations that allow for interpreting them differently. A functional definition, in contrast, does not suffer from being ambiguous, because it can be expressed explicitly using mathematical formulations that can be tested, for example, in a quantitative simulation. It is important to note that we are not concerned with the “hard” problem of consciousness, i.e., the subjective aspect of mental phenomena. This approach is possible because, adopting a monist view, we assume that we can circumvent the “hard” problem without losing information concerning the possible function of these phenomena. In other words, we assume that phenomenality is an inherent property of both access consciousness and metacognition (or reflexive consciousness). Following these arguments, we claim that our network does not only show emergent properties on the reactive level; it also shows that mental states, such as emotions, attention, intention, volition, or consciousness can be observed, too. Concerning consciousness, we argue that properties assumed to partially constitute access consciousness are present in our network, including the property of global availability, which means that elements of the procedural memory can be addressed even if they do not belong to the current context. Further expansions are discussed that may allow for the recognition of properties attributed to metacognition or reflexive consciousness.
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Cruse H, Schilling M. Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness. In: Metzinger T, Windt J, eds. Open Mind. Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M.; 2015.
Cruse, H., & Schilling, M. (2015). Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness. In T. Metzinger & J. Windt (Eds.), Open Mind Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M.
Cruse, H., and Schilling, M. (2015). “Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness” in Open Mind, Metzinger, T., and Windt, J. eds. (Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M.).
Cruse, H., & Schilling, M., 2015. Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness. In T. Metzinger & J. Windt, eds. Open Mind. Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M.
H. Cruse and M. Schilling, “Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness”, Open Mind, T. Metzinger and J. Windt, eds., Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M., 2015.
Cruse, H., Schilling, M.: Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness. In: Metzinger, T. and Windt, J. (eds.) Open Mind. MIND Group Frankfurt/M., Frankfurt/M. (2015).
Cruse, Holk, and Schilling, Malte. “Mental states as emergent properties. From walking to consciousness”. Open Mind. Ed. Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer Windt. Frankfurt/M.: MIND Group Frankfurt/M., 2015.
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