calvin tolman

A model for how physical and computational processes may instantiate consciousness based on a theory of representation.

Beginning with Descartes method of doubt, a theory of representation is developed that can be used to describe and symbolically model experience and awareness.  The principles of representation are used to explain various features and problems of consciousness and experience.   The concept and logic of representation making are then applied in a two pronged approach to model biological and possible computational representation making. The biological examples reveal a group of principles that are critical to understand representation making regardless of the kind of system wherein it occurs.  A basic model is then described that demonstrates representation making according to the theory and satisfies the principles of representation making refined from examples in biology.  

The model can be used to describe the variety of features in human and animal experience and consciousness. And can also be used proscriptively as a framework for the development of computational systems that would auto generate representations and instantiate consciousness. This two pronged approach is critical to understand what representation making is, as a function agnostic to the "platform" where the representation making occurs and where consciousness is instantiated.  The proposed model  resolves the explanatory gap by showing how representation making processes form bi-directional causal paths between physical systems and experience (qualia) through the instantiation of representations. 

Included are some brief critiques of various perspectives, theories, and methodologies that are inadequate to explain or produce representations and experience, and that are incapable of resolving the explanatory gap.  

Link to Poster PNG image (6.1 meg): Poster

Link to the PDF Poster (2.4 meg):tucson_display.graffle.pdf

Link to Poster Awareness Extra PNG image: Awareness Extra diagram