ISSN 1019 3316, Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2013, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 59–69. Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2013.
Original Russian Text D.I. Dubrovskii, 2013, published in Vestnik Rossiiskoi Akademii Nauk, 2013, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 45–57.
States of consciousness—subjective reality—form the direct experience of any person. As is known, we haveconsciousness thanks to the functioning of the human brain. Yet how do material processes transfer to idealforms in which our subjective reality exists? How did this human ability appear? Despite long interest in thisproblem, science is still unable to give a satisfactory description and explanation of this phenomenon. Suchan attempt is made in the article below.
DOI: 10.1134/S101933161301005X
Subjective Reality and the Brain:
An Essay on a Theoretical Solution to the Problem
D. I. Dubrovskii*
The presence of subjective reality, i.e., states that an ious descriptions into a single conceptual system capa individual feels and that prove that an individual exists, ble of a theoretically justified explanation for the cor is a specific and integral quality inherent in human relation of SR phenomena with brain processes. How beings. This quality is designated in the literature by dif ever, it is still unclear how to find this link and thus ferent terms that are close in meaning: mental, intro spective, phenomenal, subjective experience, qualia, etc.
There is also another problem: subjective reality in In recent decades, the term subjective reality (SR) has itself is an internal and individually subjective experi been used quite widely to describe the specifics of con ence inherent only in a given individual (expressed in 1 sciousness. This trend seems promising also in the tide first person reports). How do we transfer from this way of the consciousness–brain problem, since, when individually subjective experience to intersubjective 5 this problem is called the subjective reality–brain prob and generally valid (third person) statements and to lem, its main content is emphasized. In this article, the above notions will be used as equivalent.
These questions have been raised many times and The SR notion covers individual phenomena and have been solved differently from different positions, their types (sensations, perceptions, feelings, thoughts, but, in the light of the current urgent problems, they 2 intentions, wishes, conations, etc.), as well as a holistic continue to be open. This situation becomes especially formation united by our ego with all its reflexive and acute in fields of neuroscience that are meant to study 3 areflexic dimensions. This holistic formation repre psychic activity and conscious phenomena and that do sents a historically evolving continuum interrupted not admit reductive solutions (concepts that try to from time to time by deep sleep or cases of fainting.
reduce SR phenomena to physical processes and Subjective reality is always a certain content given to an individual as the current present or now, which canbelong to the past and to the future.
The consciousness–brain problem should be dif ferentiated from a psychophysical problem that 6 The specificity of SR phenomena that differenti expresses generally the relationship between the spiri ates them from objects examined by classical natural tual and the physical (corporal). Philosophy does not science is that we cannot ascribe physical properties to study the brain. Neuroscience and numerous related them. Hence, there is a claim to being of a special disciplines deal with it. However, consciousness is a ontological status, the definition of which has always primordial subject of philosophy. Therefore, the prob been a problem for scientists, especially for those who lem that interests us certainly includes the philosoph 4 study the relationship between psychical phenomena ical background, to say nothing of the necessary thor and activities of the human brain. The point is that SR ough epistemological and methodological analysis phenomena are described by the notions of intention when stating and solving its main questions.
ality, purpose, sense, value, and will, while physical Science has extensive resources to study conscious phenomena and brain processes are described by the ness; it has accumulated a vast experience that needs notions of mass, energy, and spatial characteristics, conceptualization (we mean data on psychology, psy and these notional complexes have no direct logical chiatry, linguistics, informatics, social humanities, relations. We need a certain notional link to unite var and cognitive disciplines, and many other fields of science, especially those of interdisciplinary nature, such * David Izrailevich Dubrovskii, Dr. Sci. (Philos.), is chief research fellow at the RAS Institute of Philosophy.
as psychophysiology, psychopharmocology, psychoge 7 netics, and psycholinguistics). Simultaneously, the We acknowledge three initial premises, the first two of 8 role of scientific knowledge that is called metatheoret which are principles with no empirical refutations, and ical (metascientific and general scientific) has been the third one is an intuitively acceptable agreement.
increasing in recent decades. It is represented by the • Information is necessarily incorporated in its physi ideas of functionalism and structuralism, system and cal medium (does not exist outside and apart from it). information approaches, and several other theoriesthat have a wide sphere of application. Conceptual • Information is invariant in relation to the physical tools of this level can be used in practically all scientific properties of its medium (for short, the invariance prin disciplines, performing an integrating function in ciple); i.e., the same information for a given self orga interdisciplinary studies. Therefore, they are of pri nizing system (organism, human being, or commu mary importance for the development of the con nity) can be implemented and transferred by media sciousness–brain problem, which is an interdiscipli that are different in their physical properties; in other nary (I would even say, transdisciplinary) scientific words, information can be coded differently. For challenge. Its theoretical solution should, on the one example, information about rain being expected hand, rest on an empirical basis, and, on the other, it is tomorrow can be transmitted in different languages, capable of initiating new trends and methods and, orally, in writing, in Morse code, etc.; in all these consequently, new results in brain and psychic studies.
cases, the media of the same information differ inmass, energy, spatiotemporal, and other physical char This solution primarily requires theoretically justi • An SR phenomenon (for example, my sensory Question 1. How can we explain the relationship image of visually perceived object A, experienced in a between SR phenomena and brain processes if the given time interval) can be considered information former should not be ascribed physical properties and (about this object). Note that information admits not only a synthetic but also a semantic (content– Question 2. If SR phenomena should not be notional) and a pragmatic (purposeful, effective, pro ascribed physical properties, how can we explain their gram controlled) description, which meets the ability to cause effects on corporal processes? requirements of the description of SR phenomena.
In addition to these main questions, there are sev If these three initial premises are accepted, the desired eral others that are usually stumbling blocks for natural explanatory effects are logically derived from them.
scientists. Let us consider the following of them.
Since an SR phenomenon is information about А Question 3. How can we explain the phenomena of (we designate it as А), it must have a certain medium voluntary actions and free will and how can we combine (we designate it as Х). According to neuroscientific them with the deterministic nature of brain processes? data, this medium represents a certain brain neurody Question 4. How can we explain the origin of SR namic system. Thus, the phenomenon of subjective itself in the process of evolution? At first sight, it seems reality is necessarily related to a corresponding brain unnecessary for efficient functioning of an organism.
process, like information with its medium. Althoughneurodynamic system Х necessarily consists of physi Question 5. Why is information about an active cal components, its functional specifics cannot be agent not just represented but felt as subjective reality? explained on the basis of physical properties and regu Note that the last three questions are of a private larities (because, as is known, the description of func nature in the sense that their clarification depends on tional relations is logically independent of the descrip tion of physical relations). This is also shown by thecharacter of the necessary relation between А and Х.
The relation between А and Х is not causative; this is a special type of functional relation: А and Х aresimultaneous and single causative phenomena; they The theory that I propose and that will allow us to are in a relation of mutual single valued correspon answer the above questions rests on the current knowl dence; Х is a coded implementation of А, or an А code.
edge of biological evolution and (biological and social, This relation may be called code dependency. It is including technical) self organization processes, as well formed in the phylogenesis and ontogenesis of a self as the information approach. It is organized relatively organizing system, and its nature is that of a historical clearly and simply, thus being convenient for criticism.
innovation and in this sense is casual (this informationhas acquired this particular code implementation in a 1 Note that the notion of information has a generally accepted defi given self organizing system, but, in principle, it could nition, and I use it in the sense in which it is used practically by all also have another implementation). However, having sciences, namely, as the content of a message or the content of asignal (N. Wiener’s definitions). Therefore, there is no need to go arisen in a certain form, it becomes a functional ele into its various interpretations here; they are presented in [1].
ment of the self organization process. This relation is HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES real, preserving its functional role either in a one time • Natural: Information implemented in them is action or in a certain interval (for example, a condi directly understandable to the self organizing system tioned reflex relation), often during the whole life of to which it is addressed; that is, it can be used directly an individual, and even during the whole history of a for control without preliminary decoding operations, species, and during the whole period of existence of and without studying the signal structure, or without a living systems on the earth in the case of the basic special analysis of the medium of this information. In DNA code. Yet even the origin of a genetic code was other words, a natural code carries information in a not necessary and also was of a casual nature. As F.
Crick, the codiscoverer of the genetic code, indicated, • Alien: Information implemented in them is not it could have practically any structure, because its directly understandable and cannot be perceived and details depend on which particular amino acid and used by a self organizing system without the preliminary which particular adaptor correspond to each other.
operation of translating an alien code into a natural one.
Most likely, the existing option of this mutual correspondence was determined at a very early stage of evo It is important to note that cryptology, as well as lution, and, possibly, the choice in its favor was acci contemporary science after it, does not use the term dental [2]. This is even more characteristic of the ori code to designate objects that we call natural codes gin of the code structure of language (the existence of (owing to their transparency). However, the approach many different languages testifies to this). The acci that I propose and the concept of decoding the brain dental nature of the formation of a code dependency codes of SR phenomena [3, 4] rest on a wider theoret does not contradict the principle of the necessary rela ical foundation compared to that in classical cryptol tion between information and its medium but demon ogy, which uses a narrow interpretation of the notion strates the principle of invariance in action. In addi of a code. The development and justification of this tion, evolution inevitably selects code forms that are question are given in my work [5, pp. 214–273].
the most economical by their physical characteristics.
A way to translate an alien code into a natural one is either preprogrammed initially into the structure of 9 A complex system that consists of self organizing a self organizing system, or formed by it due to its elements and subsystems has a multistep hierarchy of acquired experience and as a result of accidental find code dependencies, which reflect its history (both ings, or it remains unknown and should be found.
phylogenetically and ontogenetically). This hierarchy Examples of such a search can be given by cryptology, represents the main levels and nodes of organization of linguistics, ethnography, and other sciences that face a given system and, consequently, the main contours of the control structure. Experience in the study ofsuch systems indicates very complex relations of cen Both natural and alien codes can be internal and tralization and autonomy in their holistic functioning.
external for a given self organizing system (an organ Despite the fact that these relations are still not well ism, its subsystems, a person, or a community).
studied, it is safe to say that this is a sort of a fusion of Apparently, alien codes are mainly external. However, a hierarchical centralization of code dependencies and at the personal level, they also appear in autocommu a high degree autonomy of certain levels of organiza nication processes, where internal alien codes mani tion, which includes not only cooperative but also fest themselves as incomprehensible and often nega competitive relations. Thus, self organization is a tive feelings and symptoms, which originate from the multidimensional dynamic structure of code depen unconscious and somatic sphere; this is also true of dencies (consequently, information processes), and, therefore, the study of the nature of code dependency Note a seemingly paradoxical situation: an Х type as an element of self organization is especially urgent.
code is an internal natural code for me in the sense thatit directly opens to me the information contained in it The relation between SR and a neurodynamic system (the is an А image), and it is decoded in my brain as its medium, like any code dependency, differs qualita seemingly automatically. At the same time, it is an tively from a physical relation and expresses the specifics external alien code for me in the sense that I do not of information processes. Therefore, a thorough study of know anything about its location in my brain or its this relation, as well as of the structural and functional composition and functional structure; moreover, I do organization of the corresponding system, means decod not feel at all what happens in my brain when I feel ing the brain code of this SR phenomenon.
image А. In other words, SR phenomena give me However, what is a decoding operation if informa information in its pure form, shutting out information tion is necessarily implemented in a certain medium, about its medium. Implementing cognitive processes, and the latter is always one code implementation or we seek information of interest to us, which is given to another? This operation may be only the translation of us as a natural code. In many cases, we are unaware of one code into another: incomprehensible for a given the setup of natural codes, but this does not prevent us self organizing system into comprehensible. There from translating alien codes into natural ones at the fore, we should distinguish two code types: SR level. Such translation, developed in phylogenesis HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES or ontogenesis, is implemented automatically by specifics of the brain substrate, brain elements, synap unconscious mechanisms of the psyche.
tic relations, and morphological structures). Here we Such code transformations that we constantly per should add that any translation of information into form are so immanent in our practical and communi another language entails some losses of the initial con cative acts that we simply do not notice them—this is tent (an issue of special analysis).
the air of our social functions. However, to understand In the real process of studying code dependencies, the specific dependence of А on Х, we have to know the the direct and reciprocal problems are interrelated.
composition of the latter and to decode its code struc Nevertheless, the reciprocal problem, or the move ture like we have to do when learning a previously ment from А to unknown neurodynamic correlations 10 unknown language. Let us note here the idea of auto cerebroscope, according to which I myself can observe that, to a certain degree, should correspond to Х, dom and study the relation between my psychic and brain inates the decoding of the neurodynamic code of psy processes. In the modern conditions, it may have a chic phenomena. Modern neuroscience sets and stud certain experimental perspective. Even in this case, ies correlations with various methods (electroenceph despite my feeling А in its pure form, I would have to alography, electromyography, positron emission, and obtain А (its content) in a way that is also accessible for functional magnetic resonance tomography). At the an outside observer. Thus, Х, being an alien code for same time, the correlates identified are related only me and for all of us, must become a special object of indirectly to Х, which is an extremely complex multi research in order to decode it and bring to light the А dimensional circular neurodynamic network system, information contained in it independently, that is, by and the building of adequate models of a code depen extracting signals from my brain and translating Х into dency requires special analysis and interpretation a suitable natural code (as a text, image, digital record ing, etc., understandable to me). This, in turn, can Over the past five years, important results have been ensure the understanding of the results of the Х code obtained in decoding the brain codes of visual percep decoding by other researchers and other people, that tions not only for static and comparatively simple 5 is, its intersubjective status. Thus, it is possible to speak black and white visual images [7] but also for moving about the possibility of generating a new type of com color images—a movie fragment perceived by a test munication, which must become a subject of serious subject (corresponding images felt by the testee were displayed on a computer screen as the result of the If the brain codes of SR phenomena are thoroughly analysis and synthesis of elements of their brain corre decoded, this will disturb the fundamental principle of lates obtained mainly with the method of functional social self organization—the relative autonomy or magnetic resonance tomography (FMRT)) [8]. This 11 “closedness” of the personal subjective world. What area of neuroscience, which is developing very rapidly, consequences await us if this world is opened in spite is called brain reading, but we can offer a more correct of the will of its sovereign, if some become open and name, neurocryptology. Its objective is to decode the others, closed, etc.? Another interesting question is brain codes of various SR phenomena (not only visual what will happen with our society and its political, but also auditory and tactile perceptions, emotions, economic, and other institutions if people suddenly voluntary actions, and even thinking) [9], and it become open (which means, for example, that no one acquires strategic importance for the creation of prin cipally new brain–machine interfaces and for the During the study of the АХ dependence, two development of cognitive technologies. However, it isimpossible to improve the efficiency of this area with The direct one is when it is necessary to translate an out a fundamental phenomenological development of alien code into a natural one and to find out the informa the objects of code decoding—SR phenomena. The tion contained in it. Note that, in the case of Х objects,difficulties arise in retrieving and describing them, to say 2 I would like to say (although this is not quite correct on my part) nothing of finding ways to decode them and implement that the theoretical and methodological program of decoding the decoding process. (An impressive example of this the brain codes of psychic phenomena was rolled out on a grand may be the exceptionally complex creative process of scale using the information approach in my book publishedmore than 40 years ago [10]. I should stress the importance of decoding the genetic code described by Crick [2].) neurophysiological research in this area by N.P. Bekhtereva, The reciprocal problem is related to decoding a nat with whom I collaborated closely at that time. This research wasdiscontinued or at least seriously disrupted after the publication ural code if information is given and it is necessary to of the slashing review article by N.P. Dubinin in the journal define its medium and study its functional structure.
Communist, an organ of the Central Committee of the Commu Due to the invariance principle, the reciprocal prob nist Party of the Soviet Union, who wrote the following about lem is more complex than the direct one, since this the decoding of brain codes: “here is a pretense to make recommendations from scientific and ideological positions that are information can have different media (although their absolutely alien to us,” “it is an open revision of the Marxist– variety is limited by the brain properties, such as the Leninist understanding of consciousness” [12, p. 73].
HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES current studies do not give them clear definitions, I developed a way to form personal and interper 13 reducing the efficiency of deliverables in this area.
sonal invariants of a visual pattern and the corresponding neurodynamic media in [10, pp. 284–300]. As for The formation of an object for decoding requires the formation of an interpersonal invariant of any SR the correct discretization of the SR continuum as the phenomenon, analysis allows us to conclude that any current present and breaking it down into elements and individual SR phenomenon that can be recorded fragments. It is desirable that discretization reach the (even a quantum of sensation or perception) and level of quantification of SR phenomena. This opera whose neurodynamic correlate is attempted to be tion may be implemented for comparatively simple identified proceeds against the state of wakefulness phenomena (sensations, perceptions, and some emo experienced by the individual, that is, against the gen tional states). It implies the minimization of a given eral SR state. This circumstance, unfortunately, is very SR phenomenon by content and time. For example, in often ignored. Here we need to understand the a tachistoscopic experiment, I perceive a white square extremely complex and multidimensional value– against a black background in a dark room in a mini notional and action–will structure of subjective reality mal time. This may be called a quantum of visual per and its self organization, whose core is our Ego. ception. Let us assume that information А is such an Therefore, any SR phenomenon taken separately even SR quantum. Then its medium Х, the unknown code as its personal invariant always bears the properties of structure, must be limited to the same time interval. A this structure to a certain degree and cannot be con multitude of my perception quanta makes it possible to form a personal invariant of perception А and, thus,set a corresponding personal invariant Х. Interpersonal Coding and decoding processes primarily indicate invariants А and Х can be formed in the same way if the necessary participation of memory in them and the various individuals take part in the experiment for this circular structure of the experienced content of a given purpose. We need clear and strictly defined invariants SR phenomenon in a given interval of the currentpresent. These aspects of decoding are of fundamental of this type to observe the principle of experimental importance and the subject of special studies [13–16].
repeatability. This refers not only to the invariants of No less important are the phenomenological proper various SR phenomena but also to the invariant of any ties of the object being decoded, which are predeter SR phenomenon, that is, to the invariant description mined by the multidimensional dynamic structure of of a felt state in general and, consequently, to the subjective reality. Thus, any SR phenomenon reflects description of specific properties of brain activity and not only a certain external content but itself as well.
specific information processes that set the presence of This manifests its irremovable appurtenance to its Ego, SR in all of us in a given interval (unlike information a quality that psychiatry calls the sense of belonging and processes in the brain, which, according to D. Chalm which is violated only in pathological cases, leading to depersonalization phenomena, well described by psy We have sufficient grounds to think that code neu chiatrists, and usually related derealization phenom rodynamic systems like Х, which are the media of cer ena. The unity of “extrareflection” and self reflection tain SR phenomena, although they include a wide allows us to assume that the basic dynamic SR struc spread of elements and properties, nevertheless, have ture is bimodal; i.e., its main relations, which determine the dynamic integrity of subjective reality, repre common characteristics that allow us to identify and sent a unity of the opposite modalities of Ego and non decode the code of given information (a given SR phe Ego, which is implemented by their mutual supposi nomenon). The followers of the opposite point of view tion and alternating reference [17, pp. 83–116; 18].
usually refer to the fact that an observer deals with sin Such bimodality, which includes a mechanism of gle, original, and inimitable phenomena. Yet the alternating mirrorlike reference, should also be inher human being always overcomes this abyss of diversity ent in the neurodynamic organization of the code one way or another, creating proper invariants! The structure of any SR phenomenon. Although we are at necessary conditions of any scientific research are the distant approaches to an understanding of its arrange formation of such invariants, which fix the unity in ment, there is no doubt that this particular feature of diversity, and their use for the purposes of scientific any conscious act allows us to explain the phenome explanation. It is safe to say that this is a common non of “reflecting a reflection,” which is inherent in place for a scientist. However, like many simple truths, it harbors many theoretical difficulties, which affectespecially strongly the formation of clear invariants of In addition to two integral parameters (memory and SR phenomena that are offered as objects for decoding the basic SR structure), we should distinguish another their brain codes. These difficulties are amplified by six parameters describing SR phenomena. They may be the absence of a taxonomy of SR phenomena, draw called analytical because each of them designates one backs in their classification, and extremely feeble “dimension” in the multidimensional dynamic SR attempts to put their diversity in theoretical order.
structure. Taken together, they create the basic charac HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES teristics of a model that can reflect the major properties a personal sanction in the structure of SR phenomena of the code neurodynamic organization.
allows us to assume that the same functional mecha nism exists in the neurodynamic code organization ofa SR phenomenon under study and to outline ways of The temporary parameter fixes an isolated SR phe nomenon in a certain time interval. The corresponding neurodynamic code also functions in the same The value parameter characterizes the importance interval, which limits the zone for its search and iden of the contents of a felt SR phenomenon for a person and the person’s attitude to it. The value dimension The content parameter (or, better, the parameter of has its specifics that cannot be reduced to the true or contents) means that any SR phenomenon is a reflec other SR parameters. It is well known that false con tion and a meaning of something and that it fixes the cepts may be of an exceptional value for a person and necessary presence of contents in each interval of the true concepts, of a very low and even negative value.
current present regardless of the adequacy or inade The structure of personal value based relations quacy of these contents and of the fact whether it acts includes three types: hierarchical (clear division into as a nonrecurring experience or a personal/interper higher and lower values, subordination of the lower to sonal invariant. This parameter points to the func the higher, and unambiguous choice); peer (numerous tional mechanism of the neurodynamic organization, value based intentions that are on the same and which codes the contents of this SR phenomenon, and mostly low level, easily interchangeable, and their aims at its experimental search. This is probably the choice is either very difficult or, reversely, very simple), greatest difficulty in the problems of decoding.
and competitive (two incompatible value based inten Although simple content types of SR phenomena are tions that require choice; if no choice, a poignant state reproduced on a computer display by FMRT, we of ambivalence arises, which, however, can be ousted should understand that the observable tomogram, successfully). A value based intention that dominates being a correlate of the experienced phenomenon, in a given time interval determined the choice, the nevertheless, expresses its actual code neurodynamic decision, and the action. The value parameter denotes organization very indirectly. Therefore, such studies a similar specific functional mechanism in the code may be called only the first step in solving the problem brain organization of SR phenomena that motivates of decoding the brain codes of SR phenomena.
various nisus and sanctions (cognitive, emotional, 16painful, etc.).
The formal parameter means that any content of an SR phenomenon takes a certain form and belongs to a The pragmatist (intentional–willful) parameter corresponding class, genus, or species; that is, it is cate characterizes any SR phenomenon in terms of its gorized one way or another. When we speak about visual activity and points to factors such as a projection to the perception or perception in general, we mean a certain future, foresight, the definition of objectives and pur form of existence of sensory images, which organizes posefulness, the expression of will, and action. This their colossal diversity. Despite the absence of a scien parameter expresses an activity vector as a special qual tific taxonomy of SR phenomena, in most cases, we use ity that cannot be replaced with any of the above successfully formal discretizations, developed and sanc parameters despite a close relation with them, espe tioned by psychology on the basis of generalizations of cially with the value parameter. It is important to view everyday experiences and natural languages (sensation, activity in its self development as a process of perma visual perception, perception in general, conception, nent formation of innovations, including significant notion, etc.). The formal parameter aims at identifying changes in its direction and ways of implementation, functional neurodynamic mechanisms that implement which ensures the possibility of developing more per the operations of categorization, classification, general fect forms of activity. This parameter aims at study of specific functional mechanisms in brain activity,which maintain activity states and implement them in The true/false parameter characterizes any SR various activities, as well as processes of neurodynamic phenomenon in terms of its adequate reflection of a self organization, which serves as a necessary factor of corresponding object. It can be true or false, ambigu the functioning of the neurodynamic code media of 14 ous or indefinite, but in all cases our basic mindset on truth and rightness remains. Any interval of the current present includes sanction: to accept or not to Thus, the briefly described parameters for the accept the given contents. This mechanism is far from description of SR phenomena point to similar func perfect and often selects false and absurd concepts as tional mechanisms of the brain neurodynamic organi true and correct. However, all true ideas and theories zation, which should serve as the subject and goal of originated and started off in the minds of individuals; neuroscientific studies when solving the problems of they were first sanctioned by the individual; and only brain decoding. Registering the main dynamic dimen with time were they acknowledged at the level of inter sions of the multidimensional SR structure, they can 15 personal and suprapersonal relations. The presence of be used for building more sophisticated computer HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES models of code representations of SR phenomena in very different in their physical properties. Here we the brain and, thus, for understanding the dynamic have a special type of causality, information causality.
self organizing structure that functionally predeter Its specifics, compared to physical causality, is deter mines the existence of consciousness.
mined by the invariance principle. A type of informa On the basis of the principle of information invari tion causality is psychic causality. The notion of psy ance in relation to the physical properties of its chic causality also covers unconsciously produced medium and, consequently, the principle of system actions. However, despite the very close relationbetween the conscious and the unconscious levels of 17 isofunctionalism, substantiated by A. Turing and meaning that one and the same function or complex of the psyche, we are first of all interested in actions functions can be reproduced on substrates different in taken consciously, initiated by existing SR phenom their physical (chemical) properties, we may make a ena. Therefore, in this case, it is better to use the conclusion about the theoretical conceivability of SR notion of mental causality as a subtype of information reproduction on other media. It is possible to create causality (under the condition that the scope of the elements (different from neural ones in their physico notion “mental” is limited to SR phenomena).
chemical and morphological properties) and a It is important to stress that the notion of informa dynamic self organizing system built from them that tion causality does not contradict the notion of physi will be able to reproduce information processes, that cal causality, which fully preserves its meaning even if is, supply the control center of this system with infor it does not pretend to the role of a universal tool of mation in pure form, provide for the ability to oper explanation of all phenomena of reality, for instance, ated it, and thus constitute reflexive and bimodal an explanation of the causes of an economic crisis or mechanisms of information processing, characteristic the causes of a self sacrificing act. As for psychic cau of our Ego. The convergent development of nano , sality, it gives a scientifically justified answer to the bio , information, and cognitive technologies is mov classical question of the effect of the mental on the ing increasingly in this direction, creating new compo physical. Yet here the reciprocal question arises: the nents and ways of self organization, opening up pros effect of the physical on the mental. Even if we disre pects for the formation of artificial intelligence and for gard cases in which strong mechanical, temperature, the transformation of human nature. In recent years, radiation, etc., effects destroy brain code structures these problems, which are of strategic and fundamen and biological organization, physical causes may serve tal importance for the future of the earth’s civilization, to explain the significant properties of the mental, have become a topic of serious discussion by promi when we are speaking about direct sensory reflections nent scientists and philosophers. Numerous confer (sensations, etc.); or such effects on code structures ences, symposia, and discussions have been dedicated that lead to mutations; or electromagnetic, chemical, to them. An important event was the recent Global and other effects on the brain. However, in all these Future 2045 International Congress, held in Moscow examples, physical causes are often mediated by infor and attended by representatives of science from vari mation processes and, consequently, information causes. Thus, the notion of information causalitybroadens significantly the theoretical tools of scientific explanation and becomes necessary if self organizing systems (biological, social, and technical in a number of relations) become the subject of research. Theoretical and empirical justifications of information causal An SR phenomenon as information based on the ity differ significantly from the principles of describing existing code dependency is the cause of external or internal corporal changes and personal complexactions and predetermines their result. In addition, Together with the capability to have information “in information is sort of “isolated” in the continuum of pure form,” we were given the capability to operate it in physical interactions (as long as the code structure of a very wide range. This expresses the activity of subjec a given self organizing system is preserved). When I tive reality. It includes voluntary actions that can be say to a person, “Come up to me!,” and the person taken not only purely mentally but also communica fulfills this action, it is generated and determined not tively and practically. Analysis of the structure of a vol by the physical properties of the words that I pro untary action points to a significant role in it of the nounced but by the information expressed in them, areflexic level and registers, which ensure stable reac 3 its semantic and pragmatic characteristics. The phys tions and human behavior. However, the initiator and ical properties of the information medium in them regulator of this action is always a certain SR phenom selves do not explain the resulting effect, although enon. Therefore, a voluntary action is graphic evidence they necessarily participate in the act of determina of mental causality. Let us take an example. I want to tion. This is proved by the fact that I can generate the turn on a desk lamp and do so by bushing a button. In same effect by other words and, in general, by signals this case, the mental cause in the form of my desire rep HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES resents an action program and launches a chain of code and target vectors. The Ego system embodies personal transformations, well worked out in phylogenesis and features of an individual and the ability to express ontogenesis (serial and parallel switching on of code one’s will. To this end, a question arises about the free programs of arm movements and other associated cor dom of will and its compatibility with the determina poral changes, as well as code programs of energy sup port for the whole complex of actions that achieve the Note that those who reject the freedom of will cross result). An SR phenomenon with a higher value rank out themselves as personalities and divest themselves ing can have a more powerful causal effect on corporal of any responsibility for their actions, including the 18 processes. Well known are somatic effects of a “super statement that there is no freedom of will. Everyone of valuable idea” and many similar manifestations of the us is sure that, in many cases, one can, at one’s discre extraordinary power of psychic causality and mental tion and will, choose and operate these or those con control. We may refer to the experience of the Great cepts, thoughts, intentional vectors, etc., although SR Patriotic War, many striking examples of fortitude and comprises classes of phenomena that are overpower will, allowing outstanding feats for the love of the ingly imposed on us from outside or from within and Motherland, duty, honor, and justice.
resist or partially yield to control, often with great dif Mental causality means not only mental effects on ficulty (pain, emotions, etc.). Nevertheless, our Ego the corporal but also mental effects on the mental. The can control itself and its SR phenomena in a very fact that one thought can affect and cause another is broad range and, moreover, expand it.
our omnipresent psychic experience. Despite difficul If the ability to control voluntarily one’s concepts ties in the discretization of SR phenomena, compara and thoughts is the ability to control their brain code tively simple cases allow us to imagine associative media, this means the ability to control the energy transfer from one of them to another as a cause–effect supply of these operations, including the correspond relation. For example, visual image А causes in me in ing biochemical processes; to change action programs the next moment visual image В. Such mental causal and, consequently, change their neurodynamic struc ity or the “mechanism” of posteriority of В from А is tures; and to expand the contours of psychic regulation not fundamentally different from processes where an (including the creation of accesses to vegetative func SR phenomenon causes a certain corporal change.
tions, as yogis can do when, for example, they volun Different are only the contours of code transforma tarily change their heart rhythm). This approach tions or those subsystems of the brain where they hap allows a deeper probe into the phenomena of “thought pen and the character of effector changes (their pres strain” and “will strain” and ways of intensifying the ence or absence in external organs).
creative process and of creating new resources of psy Information А is encapsulated in neurodynamic sys chic self regulation, not only functional but also ethi tem Х, and В, correspondingly, is in neurodynamic sys cal. In other words, we are capable of constantly tem Y. The transformation of А to В is the transforma expanding the range of abilities to control our brain tion of Х to Y. If I can do it of my own volition, this neurodynamics (with all its desirable and maybe means that I can operate and control these brain neuro dynamic systems. Controlling the phenomena of one’s Yet the human ability to control one’s brain neuro own subjective reality and one’s own thoughts is control dynamics voluntarily means that the Ego system of the of the corresponding brain code structures. Everyone of brain is a self organizing and self controlling system.
us of one’s own volition constantly controls various Consequently, a freedom of will act (in terms of the classes of the neurodynamic systems of one’s own choice made, as well as in terms of generating an inter brain, although one does not feel this and does not even nal effort to achieve a goal, including energy support for suspect, as a rule, of such ability of one’s Ego. the action) is an act of self determination. This means Yet what is our Ego in terms of neuroscience? that the notion of determination must be taken in the According to recent research, the Ego is represented in sense of not only external but also internal determina the brain as a special structural–functional subsystem, tion, set by programs of the self organizing Ego systemand the brain in general. This eliminates the thesis of 19 which is called the Ego system of the brain (or Self hood). It includes genetic and biographical levels of incompatibility of the notions of the freedom of will and stable properties of an individual and comprises the determinism of brain processes. These issues are of fun highest personal level of brain self organization and damental importance for brain decoding, because the control, which forms, in turn, the conscious–uncon latter also represents self organizing systems, i.e., func scious contour of psychic processes [19, 20]. This is tional elements of the Ego system of the brain.
the level where code transformations take place that In the context of the problems of psychic causality represent our Ego and information in pure form (i.e., and the freedom of will, we often find a sacramental as SR) and ensure the Ego’s activity as voluntary question that symbolizes an explanatory deadlock: actions and the Ego’s ability for self organization, sup how can the mental (an SR phenomenon) affect the 20 port of its identity, and implementation of mindsets brain if the brain generates it? In terms of the informa HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES tion approach, the answer is simple. The mental, by all efficiency was reached due to the emergence of psy means, affects the brain in the sense that the activated chic control in those metazoans that moved actively code neurodynamic system, which carries informa and stayed in constantly changing conditions. There tion in “pure form” (the mental) to a person, is capa fore, the psyche does not develop in organisms with ble of affecting other code structures of the brain, minimal motor activity and fixed to one place, for including those that implement information processes 21 at the prepsychic level and thus affect various levels of Evolution demonstrates a very close relation brain activity, including blood circulation processes between motor and psychic functions. Hence, there is and biochemical and electric changes in individual an obvious causal ability of the mental (information) neurons and synaptic networks. This happens some to perform external actions directly and instanta times in an especially strong and pronounced form, for neously and to control the organs of movement. By example, if a happy thought comes unexpectedly. This contrast, control of internal organs and processes 18 is an inspiration and a supervaluable mental state, appears to be automatic at the unconscious and which is accompanied by an emotional surge and bois prepsychic levels. At the same time, there is constant 21 terous productive activity (mental or practical). Initi “trimming” of different parameters of local and inte ated at the level of the Ego system, it produces func gral changes (energy based and informational) in the tional changes in other brain subsystems and finally internal environment of an organism for its efficient causes strong reactions in a number of internal organs actions in the external environment.
and in the whole system. Any mental state of an individual is a product of a specific brain activity at the Psychic control is related to the process of special level of its Ego system, and, when it occurs, the func ization of cells and the origin of a nervous system, tioning of practically all brain subsystems changes sig which has the functions of programming and imple nificantly (compared to states when the SR state is menting actions based on analysis and integration of absent, i.e., during deep sleep or temporary loss of information that comes from the external and internal environments. The products of this integration are initially expressed as sensations–emotions and, only atthe subsequent stages, as more complex SR forms (perceptions, ideas, concepts, thinking operations, We are left with one issue, probably the most com etc.). Consequently, the operative mechanisms of SR plex: the origin of subjective reality. It may be formu also become more complex. The animal psyche has an lated in the following way: “What is subjective reality SR quality that, at higher levels of evolution, acquires designed for?” or “Why did it originate during biolog a rather complex structure in animals, including the ical evolution?” I will try to answer this question hierarchical centering of SR phenomena, or a certain briefly from the position of the information and evolu “selfhood,” which is an evolutionary precondition for 19 tionary approaches, relying on my earlier work [21].
the human Ego system. Therefore, we may say that SRrepresents a specific level of information processes at The process of the origin of metazoans put forward the level of the human brain’s Ego system.
a cardinal task whose solution predetermined theirsurvival: to create a new type of control and mainte In order to shape information as subjective reality, nance of integrity. After all, the elements of such a self it is necessary to perform its two stage code conversion organizing system are cells that also represent self at the Ego system’s level: information that stays “in the organizing systems with their quite rigid programs, run dark” is represented at the first stage, and a natural and polished by evolution over hundreds of millions of code of a higher order is formed at the second stage, 22 years. In a multicellular organism, such programs had thus creating an information phenomenon about to be agreed with a general organismic program and information; i.e., information is opened up and made vice versa. This demanded an optimal measure of cen relevant for a personality. The SR states of wakeful tralization and autonomy of control contours, a mea ness, attention, circumspection, constant readiness sure capable of ensuring the preservation and strength for immediate actions, search for necessary means of ening of the integrity of a complex living system in its subsistence, probing the environment for potential incessant interactions with the external environment.
dangers, and dispatching vital functions initiate a new We mean a measure of control centralization that does stirring activity of a living system. Subjective reality, not violate the fundamental programs of individual which is created by the subsystem of natural codes of cells and such a measure of autonomy of their function the second order within the Ego system, is virtual real that does not hinder but contributes to their consen ity or the initial basic form that, during anthropogene 23 sual participation in the implementation of programs sis, during the emergence of language, and during that are fundamental for an integral organism.
social development, acquires new forms of external Together with control centralization, it demanded the objectivation. Information processing in such a code efficiency of its operation and a high speed of informa structure, i.e., at the virtual level, is operationally effi tion transfer. This measure of centralization and high cient, and it can be performed independently from HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES external effector functions, which turn on only after an reflect did not matter for the adequate behavior and action program has been formed and sanctioned.
survival of an organism. These required only the information itself and the ability to use it for the purposes of The development of the psyche initiated growth in control. So, these functions developed during evolu 24 the roundaboutness and multidimensionality of infor tion and anthropogenesis. Humans, as they practiced 23 mation about information production. The range of all their social and life activities, had no need either for virtual operations expands, making the generalization information about the brain medium of the informa of experience more efficient; developing the ability of tion that they operated. However, the situation has “delayed actions” and virtual trial actions, the ability changed recently. After decoding the genetic code, the of forecasting, and the ability of building models of a decoding of brain codes of psychic phenomena (pri probable future; creating an ever higher level of stir marily SR phenomena) was put on the agenda, and ring activity; and multiplying its degrees of freedom.
this problem is being developed successfully, as was In humans, unlike in animals, information processes mentioned above. There are grounds to believe that acquire new essential features thanks to the emergence objectives related to this problem are caused by soci and development of language. This primarily concerns etal needs and that successes in meeting them mark an additional and very productive level of coding and the beginning of a new stage of human development decoding, created by the language system, which qual itatively improves the analytical and synthetic abilities 25 of information operation and develops metarepresen Even elementary analysis shows that the ability of a self organizing system to display an informationmedium and to control this medium broadens Why is information about an active agent not just immensely the sphere of its cognitive and transforming represented but felt as SR? This occurs because feel activities and, most importantly, the abilities of self ings in the form of subjective reality combine the func transformation. In this context, we may speak about tions of reflection and control, thus being a way of rep new opportunities to transform those genetically pre 19 resenting and actualizing information for Selfhood, an determined properties of human nature and con easy quick, and, primarily, arbitrary way that allows us sciousness that serve as the initial cause of the ever to operate information that unveils in its pure form deepening environmental crisis and other global prob (i.e., at the level of virtual reality). The question of how lems of human civilization, primarily, the irrepressible or by which mechanisms information processes in the individual consumer intention and aggressiveness to brain create subjective reality lies within the compe other humans (and thus to oneself). If these properties tence of modern neuroscience. Studies show that a are not changed, an anthropological disaster will await condition for the emergence of a subjective feeling is a us. It is understood that there are other theoretically circular process and information synthesis in certain conceivable options of overcoming the current crisis of brain structures (works by A.M. Ivanitskii, V.Ya. Ser our civilization and rising to a new stage of develop gin, M. Arbib and G. Rizzolatti, G. Edelman, ment, but they all depend on civilizational self trans A. Humphrey, etc.). Subjective feelings in the form of formations that imply change in the consciousness of sensations arise during comparison and synthesis on a social individual. The latter appears to depend one the neurons of the projection cortex of two types of way or another on the results of the elaboration of the information: sensory (about the physical parameters of a stimulus) and data (retrieved from the memory)about the significance of the signal. Information synthesis is assured by the mechanism of impulse return to initial projection locations after a response from brain This work was supported by the Russian Founda structures that are responsible for the memory and tion for Basic Research, project no. 11 06 00133a.
motivation. A feeling is an act of “information synthesis” within the above cycle [22]; it occurs as the resultof a high frequency cyclic process of identification 1. “The Information Approach in an Interdisciplinary Perspective (Materials of a Roundtable),” Vopr. Filos., Thus, any SR phenomenon carries simultaneously information about a certain object and information 2. F. Crick, What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scien about this information (at least, as a feeling that it tific Discovery (Basic Books, New York, 1988; Inst.
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Experience from Brain Activity Evoked by Natural Movies,” Current Biol. 21, 1641 (2011).
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Prospects, and Ethical Problems,” Zh. Vyssh. Nervnoi 20. D. P. Matyushkin, The Problem of the Nature of Human 10. D. I. Dubrovskii, Psychic Phenomena and the Brain: Inner Ego (Slovo, Moscow, 2003) [in Russian].
Philosophical Analysis of the Problem in Relation to Cer 21. D. I. Dubrovskii, “What Subjective Reality Is, or Why tain Urgent Tasks of Neurophysiology, Psychology, and Information Processes Are No Go in the Dark (an Cybernetics (Nauka, Moscow, 1971) [in Russian].
Answer to D. Chalmers),” Vopr. Filos., No. 3 (2007).
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Consciousness,” Vestn. Ross. Akad. Nauk, No. 8(2004).
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Brain Functions: Models in Neuroscience, Ed. by 24. V. Ya. Sergin, Psychophysiological Mechanisms of Con T. A. Poggio and D. A. Glaser (John Wiley & Sons, sciousness: The Hypothesis of Self Identification and Sensori Motor Rehearsal,” in The Problem of Con 14. D. J. Kravitz, K. S. Saleem, C. I. Baker, and M. Mish sciousness in Philosophy and Science, Ed. by kin, “A New Neural Framework for Visuospatial Pro D. I. Dubrovskii (Kanon+, Moscow, 2009) [in Rus cessing,” Nature Rev. Neurosci, No. 12 (2011).
SPELL: 1. tideway, 2. conations, 3. areflexic, 4. psychical, 5. intersubjective, 6. psychophysical, 7.
psycholinguistics, 8. metatheoretical, 9. preprogrammed, 10. autocerebroscope, 11. closedness, 12. testee, 13.
deliverables, 14. mindset, 15. suprapersonal, 16. nisus, 17. isofunctionalism, 18. supervaluable, 19. Selfhood, 20.
mindsets, 21. prepsychic, 22. multicellular, 23. anthropogenesis, 24. roundaboutness, 25. metarepresentation HERALD OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Source: http://www.inion.ru/files/File/Dubrovskii_D_I_Subjective_Reality_and_the_Brain.pdf


RevMexAA (Serie de Conferencias), 26, 64–65 (2006)M. Altmann,1 R. A. M´endez,1 W. van Altena,2 V. Korchargin,2 M. T. Ruiz,1 and the MUSYC collaborationPresentamos resultados preliminares del programa gal´actico como parte de la colaboraci´on MUSYC. Utilizandola fotometr´ıa multicolor de MUSYC, podemos clasificar objetos y seleccionar muestras de un tipo dado. Apli-camos la selecci´on de


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