Unfolding Conciousness - A draft on semantic hygene in discussion

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Callan S.

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« on: March 27, 2014, 12:06:47 am »
I started drafting this up awhile ago because I feel the conciousness/blind brain discussions at the three pound brain blog are being undermined by using terms which are not applicable with each other as if they were. It's like if you talked about 'a tree' and 'storage space for socks' at the same time. Oh, by 'tree' you meant a series of carved pieces of wood - wait, no, you meant a series of carved pieces of wood arranged into a chest of draws! That's what you mean by storage space for socks!

The extra complication here is where The tree is not carved - the carving apparently involved is really just from the lackings in perception. It looks like a chest of draws - it's actually a tree. It just looks like a chest of draws for all the parts of the tree you can't see - all the parts are carved away by blindness.

And what screws up conversation here is when we talk about the perception of the draws, or of the carved wood parts, in the same damn sentence as refering to the tree! It makes it seem like those draws or carved parts are on par with the tree - as if they exist next to it. Like russian dolls put back together poorly so some some just lay around.

Anyway, here's the draft:
~~~
Unfolding Conciousness

The various scales.

As it's clear with the naked eye, to magnifying glasses, to micro scopes, you can choose between seeing something very close in fine detail but being stuck at looking at a very small amount of material, or you can 'pull back' and see a great deal more, but at what one intellectually can see as considerably less detail. Though perhaps not see this at a personal level. When we see a tree on the street, for example, we have no impression or marker of the detail lost in looking at it, regardless if it's a few meters away or a block away. You can feel when you're hungry. You don't feel when you've lost information. Either way, it's a tree.

The thing is, the magnifying glass, the micro scope - they are generally ideas of what you can see close up. What if we reverse that notion of how much more we are seeing up close to instead be the idea of how much less we are seeing in general? By talking about what small amount of material we can see in fine detail, we use that as a baseline to refer to the vast amount of material outside of the view that we can't see at these degrees of focus, but are just as much possible to see in just as much detail. Using what we are seeing not as the focus, but merely as an achoring point for where discussion goes in terms of what we don't see. A focus on what we are not seeing.

One problem is that 'brain' sits at another level of unfolding entirely to something like 'heuristic'. Crossing the streams like this does not lead to semantic hygene with either term. But of course were quite used to refering to 'brains', as we all know we have one, that we casually refer to them. Yet 'brain' is actually very strong language, like a very strong swear word - it's several folds down the ladder. But culturally we are quite prone to using the word amongst concepts which are several folds upward.

Thought
Emotion
Feeling (arguably this should be put just above synaptic feedback loops. As it comes before the synaptic connections reading the loops, but at the same time cognitively it does not appear to. This is probably why the redness of red is so damn convincing (I'll endulge the phrase 'damn convincing' since we are so high up in the folds at this point!))
Synaptic connections drawing input not from the world, but from the prior feedback loops as they enact across synaptic connections, creating a second, semi-meta loop.
Synaptic connections + nervous system feedback enacting firings and environmental feedback, which prompts further firings, looping.
Synaptic connections, enactions/firings
Synaptic connections, algorithmic

*** (Here is a tricky point : One might attribute an algorithm to how the synapses make their connections. But this is reaching upward in the folds to describe something that is further downward in the folds. This is why synaptic connections physical has it's own fold below. An extra dimension to it is that it rests on the enactions of life, that in turn make this or that synapse both connect with others and continue to function. This in itself lends itself to a shortcut heuristic. So you have two pins to knock down at once - if you knock down only one, the other maintains the mystery still. The first pin is the way synapses end up connecting is due to life processes, and the second pin is that the life processes are themselves a series of chemical reactions to each other that happen to form an ongoing chemical reaction (a chemical reaction largely fed, directly or indirectly, by the energy the sun casts. Fail to knock down both pins and synaptic connections (physical) will simply appear to be synaptic connections (algorithmic) repeated a second time.)

Synaptic connections, physical.
Bio structural electrical connections
Bio-chemical electrical transmission
Chemical scale
Atomic scale. Which for this piece will be the final fold (I wont go into quantum!)



Wielokropek

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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 12:57:32 am »
Your entire use of synapse seems a little peculiar to me considering it's just the space between dendritic spines and axonal terminals. The only times I encounter people referring to the synapse is when describing particular properties of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons, or mentioning the existence of specific ionotropic or metabotropic receptors on postsynaptic neurons or the production of specific ligands in presynaptic neurons. To my knowledge, whenever systems of neurons are mentioned, they're referred to as neuronal networks or circuits, so I'd use one of those terms wherever you use synaptic connection.

I'd also probably throw in long-term potentiation/depression before specific firings between neurons because the epigenetic changes caused by these processes are what alter how neurons connect and how they behave in networks.

Speaking about algorithms in neural networks is tricky because algorithms can exist at multiple levels. There can be complex algorithms spanning multiple lobes that determine behavioural output and there can be algorithms within specific nuclei that determine their output, so I'd not use algorithms at all and instead use more specific references to the size of networks.

Callan S.

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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 11:22:47 pm »
I think I might use both. From the kids book of science I just read(!), synapses are part of the system of forming connections between neurons - this is thought to be how memory works, and so is really pivotal.

Possibly 'Neural network' then 'Neuron' should go above the synaptic connections. As I said, its a draft!

Wielokropek

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 06:04:23 am »
Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience (Neuroinformatics in total, I guess) are my passions, so I'm going to try and elaborate on how this stuff works and then try to propose an alternative sequence for everything below feeling.

Yeah, the synaptic cleft (or synapse) is the space between one neuron's axon terminal and another's dentritic spine (or cell body); therefore, it is the space at which two neurons communicate. Since the synapse is just a space, however, and not an actual structure, it's typically only used as a point of reference. For example, a neuron can be presynaptic or postsynaptic depending on whether it sends information (in the form of neurotransmitters) across the synapse or whether it receives information.

Synapses themselves aren't normally referenced when discussing how remembering things works because they exist at a much smaller scale than, say, the CA nuclei in the hypothalamus. The synapse is, however, involved in the processes that encourage neural plasticity (how neural networks alter their format, or just how neurons change the specifics of inter-neuronal communication), without which things like forming new declarative or procedural memories would be impossible.

Generally, the actual processes that cause neural plasticity are long term potentiation and long term depression. This is when presynaptic neurons release large neurotransmitters that, when they bind to special receptors on postsynaptic neurons, can cause other metabolic functions to in turn cause epigenetic changes (changes in gene expression) in the postsynaptic neuron. Ultimately this changes the way the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons interact. For example, the postsynaptic neuron may increase the number of receptors at the synapse, thereby increasing its ability to respond to the presynaptic neuron.

Trying to sort networks according to how they deal with sensory information or what kind of feedback loops they are involved in would be really messy because there are just so many ways the brain does and can deal with sensory information and information feedback. To simplify, I'll just organize neural networks by their size.

I would arrange the scale accordingly:

Multi-region neural networks
Multi-nucleic neural networks
Mono-nucleic neural networks
Long term potentiation/depression
Transmission across the synapse
Neural metabolic processes (i.e. synthesis of neurotransmitters, receptors, etc. second messenger actions, mitochondrial processes, etc.)
Genetic makeup (particularly any genes involved in neurogenetics, considering this is about the brain)
Basic chemical compositions
Atomic Scale
physics that I don't understand
...

If you'd like clearer or more detailed explanations of anything here, I'd be happy to provide them.

sciborg2

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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 03:07:20 pm »
Are there any neuroscientists who've gotten a feel for BBT?

If it's just philosophers I'm not overly interested but if the former have given even a very tentative blessing it might be worth reading up on any new work Bakker has done.

eta: philosopher to philosophers
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 03:26:57 pm by sciborg2 »
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