The Self-Programming System: A Skepticism-conformed Computational Framework of the Mind (3rd edition)


How the mind works is the ultimate mystery for human beings. To answer this question, one of the most significant insights is Kant’s argument that we can only perceive phenomena but not the essence of the external world. Following this idea, we formulated a novel computational framework to model the mind based on two assumptions: 1) There is no presupposition of the existence of the external objective world and the main task of the mind is to explore, establish and utilize persistent relationships between senses and actions. 2) Symbolic intermediate-level representation is necessary. We call this framework the self-programming system. Based on the self-programming system, we interpreted the nature of concepts, time, space, causality, and consciousness. Besides that, we also draw a conclusion to the mind-body problem. Specifically, the perspective that considers subjective experience as fundamental is compatible with the existence of the external world and that the physical body serves as the substrate of the mind. However, since the relationship is “compatible” rather than “cause”, skepticism can never be ruled out in principle. Furthermore, we have elucidated the nature of interpretation within the context of reductive physicalism. This serves to provide a clear understanding as to why the hard problem of consciousness is inherently unsolvable.

Author Profiles

Xiaojie Zhang
Chongqing Medical and Pharmaceutical College


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