Archive for July, 2015

Consciousness as a meta-phenomenon

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The year is 1954.

Alan Turing, is returning home from work at the University of Manchester where he is using the recently installed Ferranti Mark 1 computer to further his researches on morphogenesis and other matters. This behemoth of a machine with 4,000 valves, 2,500 capacitors, 15,000 resistors, 100,000 soldered joints and 6 miles of wire boasts a huge 5120 bit random access CRT memory, 72kbytes of magnetic drum storage and can carry out over 800 additions every second; but for Turing this is not nearly enough. He dreams of the day when a computer can play chess as well as he can and can even fool us into thinking that it might be conscious. After all, isn’t the human brain just a computer with nerves instead of valves?

Implicate order

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Bohm argued that both relativity and quantum theory meant that any analysis of the physical world into distinct, well-defined parts was no longer relevant. He suggests that the structure of holograms gives an insight into his concept of undivided wholeness.

In his description of holograms, coherent light from a laser passes through a half-silvered mirror, with part of the beam falling onto a photographic plate, while the other part illuminates a particular structure. Light reflected from this structure also reaches the plate where it interferes with the light waves arriving from the half-silvered mirror. When this photographic plate is lit by laser light a wave front is created, which is seen to have a similar form to the light coming off the illuminated structure. This allows an observer to see the whole of the structure in three dimensions. If only a small part of the photographic plate is illuminated, the whole structure is still visible although less sharply defined.

Orbitofrontal cortex

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The paper focuses mainly on the lateral orbitofrontal. Orbitofrontal damage can lead to difficulties in switching from behaviours that were previously advantageous, but have ceased to be so. However, the ability to make an initial discrimination, as opposed to altering an existing one, is usually unaffected. Nevertheless, changes in response are not seen as a core function of the orbitofrontal, and damage to the orbitofrontal is seen to effect a range of other tasks.