The Conscious Mind Revisited: An Informational Approach to the Hard Problem of Consciousness

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Title: The Conscious Mind Revisited: An Informational Approach to the Hard Problem of Consciousness
Authors: Maleeh, Seyedreza
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Achim Stephan
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Dr. Dieter Gernert
Dr. Harald Atmanspacher
Abstract: In the more speculative parts of his book, The Conscious Mind (1996), David Chalmers proposes his Double-Aspect theory of information as a fundamental psychophysical law according to which phenomenally realized information is also realized physically. Such a principle connects physical properties to phenomenal properties. The concept of information he adopts has much in common with what is discussed by Shannon (1948). However, there is another concept of information which fits the double-aspect principle explanatorily better while escaping from the counterintuitive notions associated with the interpretation that Chalmers gives, such as panpsychism. In this thesis, I discuss a new concept of information, called pragmatic information, put forward, among others, by Roederer (2003) according to which information and information processing are exclusive attributes of living systems, related to the very definition of life. Roederer considers the concept of interaction as a basic, primordial concept for his task. He identifies two fundamentally different classes of interactions between the bodies that make up the universe as we know it, with the concepts of information and information processing appearing as the key discriminators between the two: Purely physical interactions which occur between inanimate objects and information-driven interactions between certain kinds of complex systems that form the biological domain. I argue that the double-aspect principle best fits the very concept of information related to information-driven interactions. I will further explore two aspects of information-driven interactions in living systems: mechanical and non-mechanical. It seems that the realization of phenomenal consciousness, in accordance with double-aspect principle, can be explained according to the latter aspect. Then, the idea of the existence of non-mechanical information-driven interactions will be fortified by some evidence in quantum mechanics.
Subject Keywords: Consciousness; Pragmatic Information; Double-Aspect Theory of Information; Information-driven Interactions; Physical Interactions
Issue Date: 14-Jul-2009
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

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