Electromagnetic-Field Theories of Mind

Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (11-12):124-149 (2013)
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Abstract

Neuroscience investigates how neuronal processing circuits work, but it has problems explaining experiences this way. For example, it hasn’t explained how colour and shape circuits bind together in visual processing, nor why colours and other qualia are experienced so differently yet processed by circuits so similarly, nor how to get from processing circuits to pictorial images spread across inner space. Some theorists turn from these circuits to their electromagnetic fields to deal with such difficulties concerning the mind’s qualia, unity, privacy, and causality. They include Kohler, Libet, Popper, Lindahl, Arhem, Charman, Pockett, John, McFadden, Fingelkurts, Maxwell, and Jones. They’re classifiable as computationalist, reductionist, dualist, realist, interactionist, epiphenomenalist, globalist, and localist. However, they’ve never been analysed together as a whole, which hinders evaluations of them. This article tries to rectify this. It concludes that while field theories face challenges, they aren’t easily dismissed, for they draw on considerable evidence and may avoid serious problems in neuroscience concerning the mind’s qualia, unity, causality, and ontology.

Author's Profile

Mostyn W. Jones
University of Manchester (PhD)

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