Mentioned very recently – this Solms / Fields / Levin discussion – that Chris Fields is someone I don’t really know much about, but keeps cropping-up in significant references. (Particularly with Levenchuk and AII.)
[Note: this post is a stub to which I’m adding thoughts as I read and listen …]
This paper … :-
Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2021, 7(2)
Special Issue: Consciousness science and its theories.
“Minimal physicalism as a scale-free substrate for cognition and consciousness.” (2021)
by Chris Fields, James F. Glazebrook and Michael Levin
… is one I’ve linked to in readiness to research Fields a little more.
“A Free Energy Principle for Generic Quantum Systems”
by Fields, Friston, Glazebrook and Levin (2019)
“A Mosaic of Chu Spaces and Channel Theory II: Applications to Object Identification and Mereological Complexity”
by Fields and Glazebrook (2018)
Fields & Glazebrook (2018) >>
Fields & Glazebrook & Friston & Levin (2019) >>
Fields & Glazebrook & Levin (2021)
[Friston being the link to Solms]
That 2021 paper (without Friston or Solms)
- Starts from awareness and consciousness (and cognition?) being synonymous with each other – simply the capability of having phenomenal experiences – however basic or minimally structured. (Obviously many levels and axes, but no sense of first-person “I” experience in this working definition? Significant because the point of the paper is the what and why. From higher mammalian primates right down to free-living or facultatively communal unicells, whether pro- or eukaryotic. Not just without brains or neurones, but not even nuclei. “Minimally structured” but “living” and “cellular”.)
- [And, indeed, the criteria for “having experiences” may be as vague,
general, and extensible to non-Terrestrial or even artificial systems as plausible criteria for “life” are; but see also an argument that “definitionism” is scientifically pointless.]
[Aside – watching this AII presentation with Mark Solms, from exactly a year ago – I’m near the end of this first part, around 1h40m – and he’s emphasising a higher take on consciousness – animals “down to” cephalopods say but also inserting different levels / axes – arousal, awareness aspects of “experience” … phenomenal consciousness vs reflective cognition “access” consciousness, awareness of what we’re aware of. Arousal entails awareness. And I’m now on part 2 (AII#016.2)]
Consciousness is at root “affect” (feeling felt) and “awareness” is intrinsic to it – in fact my summary of the central point of his book:
Consciousness “is” affect.
It’s feeling all the way down.
“How do I feel
about what I know
and what, if anything,
should I do about it?”
Chalmers: “There is no cognitive function such that we can say in advance that explanation of that function will explain experience.” Obviously! because experience is affective not cognitive.
“Something it is like to be” – after Nagel’s (1974) bat – is a construction I struggle with, but Solms uses it a lot. To be like – is a feeling.
Additional references also “getting” the affective angle – Manos Tsakiris and Aikatarini Fotopoulou and Ryan Smith and Casper Hesp and Maxwell Ramstead (folk psychology). Already following the latter on Twitter. Quite a few joint papers with Friston et all in Google Scholar. Stephen Sillett on the original call.
As we know, affective / feeling “beyond-autonomic” homeostasis based on Panksepp and Damasio – 25 year ago – Good vs Bad value system choice. Massive evolutionary survival advantage – choosing by feeling in unexpected “surprise” situations – and then learning. (Anil Seth gets several positive mentions – noted a discussion between Seth and Solms previously).
Awareness – as “a-whereness” (Daniel) – distributed not localised?
In fact the 4-hours of presentation is basically the full thesis of Solms’ book.
Continuing with the Fields/Glazebrook/Levin(2021) paper: