Friday, January 8, 2021

1/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (1-12)

Defending Physical Reality.  Because, apparently somebody needs to.  Feel free to copy and share.

This overall project is intended as a student resource for an in-depth critical examination of Donald Hoffman's: The Case Against Reality; Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes.  In a previous section we did a detailed chapter by chapter review (index at the bottom of this page), including many links to authoritative resources that support my claims.  

In this section I’ve copied and reproduced the complete 21 questions and responses section from Hoffman/Prakash's Frontiers of Psychology paper 2014 Objects of Consciousness paper, which helped lay the foundation for his book.  This review will be spread out over four installments, I haven't changed any text, simply added my two cents worth.

I don’t pretend to be any sort of scholar or self-made expert, no indeed, this is closer to a student’s exploration.  Since I like homework more than most, I don’t mind sharing my process and the fruits of my hours' worth of effort, in the hope it can help others save time. 

I want to make my trail of discovery and adventures in critical thinking available to others with whom these themes resonate - especially those who also possess a desire to defend serious science against the current onslaught of strategic deception for fun, power and profit. 

title-Objects of consciousness, Frontiers in Psychology


Objections and Replies (1-12 of 21)

Donald Hoffman:  Here we summarize helpful feedback from readers of earlier drafts, in the form of objections and replies.   

Cc: The objections are printed in blue, author’s responses in mauve, my comments in dark green.  Supplementary information is clearly marked.  Most titles are linked to original sources.

(1) Your definition of conscious agents could equally well-apply to unconscious agents. Thus, your theory says nothing about consciousness.

DH:  Even if the definition could apply to unconscious agents, that would not preclude it from applying to consciousness, any more than using the integers to count apples would preclude using them to count oranges.

Cc:  Nor does it preclude applying to the totally imaginary.  The response also hints at an unwillingness to acknowledge the difference between, “Saying something” of substance about human consciousness, and simply “doing math.” 

(2) How can consciousness be cast in a mathematical formalism without losing something essential?

DH:  The mathematics does lose something essential, viz., consciousness itself. 

Similarly, mathematical models of weather also lose something essential, viz., weather itself. A mathematical model of hurricanes won't create rain, and a mathematical model of consciousness won't create consciousness. 

The math is not the territory. But, properly constructed, mathematics reveals the structure of the territory.

Cc:  But consciousness is not a geographic space that can be described using coordinates and vectors.

Consciousness is a complex interaction with the outside world and the inside of our bodies.  It’s not limited to the brain.  Where does all that get represented within Hoffman’s formulas?

(3) Why do you represent qualia by a probability space X?

DH:  Probability spaces can be used, of course, to represent a diverse range of content domains, from the outcomes of coin-flips to the long-term behavior of equity markets. But this does not preclude using probability spaces to represent qualia. 

The bigger problem is that qualia isn’t anything like a coin flip, or market fluctuations.  Describing qualia requires more nuanced concepts and tools.

{ Qualia:   “Philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett once suggested that qualia was "an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us".[2]

Much of the debate over their importance hinges on the definition of the term, and various philosophers emphasize or deny the existence of certain features of qualia. Consequently, the nature and existence of various definitions of qualia remain controversial because they are not verifiable.”

Daniel Dennett identifies four properties that are commonly ascribed to qualia.[2] According to these, qualia are:

  1. ineffable; that is, they cannot be communicated, or apprehended by any means other than direct experience.
  2. intrinsic; that is, they are non-relational properties, which do not change depending on the experience's relation to other things.  {Cc: Does not make sense.  We interact with a changing world and our perceptions and tastes change!  Our internal description of a specific event (qualia), for example, eating a particular food, is not always the same experience, since environmental factors that influence how we perceive food/drink, or events, are always changing, so too does our particular description of an experience.  Cc }
  3. private; that is, all interpersonal comparisons of qualia are systematically impossible.
  4. directly or immediately apprehensible in consciousness; that is, to experience a quale is to know one experiences a quale, and to know all there is to know about that quale.}


It is also to propose that qualia need not, in general, exhibit other structures, such as metrics or dimensions.  

Why would we expect Qualia to exhibit structure or dimensions in the first place?  

Qualia is a product within our minds, the result of a vast constellation of incoming signals.  Not just from the external environment and inputs, but from the vast complexity of our internal environments, at that particular moment in time.

Now certain qualia spaces, such as the space of phenomenal colors, do exhibit metrical and dimensional properties. These properties are not precluded. They are allowed but not required. All that is required is that we can meaningfully talk about the information content of qualia.

The qualia X of a conscious agent C are private, in the sense that no other conscious agent Ci can directly experience X. Instead each Ci experiences its own qualia Xi. Thus, the qualia X are “inside” the conscious agent C. The “outside” for C is W, or more precisely, W-C.

This is science by rhetoric with its ‘what ifs’ and ‘supposings.’

Has any actual evidence has been produced?  

(4) A conscious agent should have free will. Where is this modeled in your definition?

DH:  The kernel D represents the free will choices of the conscious agent C. For any particular quale x in X, the kernel D gives a probability measure on possible actions in the set G that the conscious agent might choose to perform. We take this probability measure to represent the free will choice of the conscious agent. Thus, we interpret the probabilities as objective probabilities, i.e., as representing a true nondeterminism in nature. We are inclined to interpret all the other probabilities as subjective, i.e., as reflections of ignorance and degrees of belief.

(5) A conscious agent should have goals and goal-directed behaviors. Where are these modeled in your definition?

DH:  Goals and goal-directed behaviors are not in the definition of conscious agent. This allows the possibility of goal-free conscious agents, and reflects the view that goals are not a definitional property of consciousness. However, since one can construct universal Turing machines from dynamical systems of conscious agents, it follows that one can create systems of conscious agents that exhibit goal-directed behaviors. Goals experienced as conscious desires can be represented as elements of a qualia space X.

Sure, one can produce such things in a theoretical sense, given imagination and computer power to play with.  

The problem is that Hoffman infers nature herself created our universe this way.  

Not a shred a physical evidence, just a nifty idea and impressive looking math.

Not a shred of rationale for why, or how, this ‘conscious agents’ idea does a better job of explaining anything in the world we exist within.  

All it manages to do, if taken seriously, is confuse all of our other understanding, which is why this Case Against Reality sometimes seems, to me, more mental health menace than anything socially constructive.

(6) Your theory doesn't reject object permanence, because conscious agents are the “objects” that give rise to our perceptions of size and shape, and those agents are permanent even when we're not looking.

DH:  Conscious realism proposes that conscious agents are there even when one is not looking, and thus rejects solipsism. 

But it also rejects object permanence, viz., the doctrine that 3D space and physical objects exist when they are not perceived. 

FYI, Earth is 4.5 billion years old. 

Mankind is 140,000 years old. 

If condensed into 24 hours

then modern humans have been alive for just 3 seconds.

To claim that conscious agents exist unperceived - differs from the claim that unconscious objects and space-time exist unperceived.

Then how the heck did Earth and all the rest come into existence?

Where do these ‘objects of consciousness’ originate?  

How do ‘objects of consciousness’ interact with our brains to produce mind?

(7) If our perceptions of space-time and objects don't resemble objective reality, if they're just a species-specific interface, then science is not possible.

DH:  The interface theory of perception poses no special problems for science. The normal process of creating theories and testing predictions continues as always. 

A particularly simple theory, viz., that our perceptions resemble reality, happens to be false. Fine. 

How can science exist without matter and time to measure and observe?

Let's consider what Hoffman’s interface theory tells us

There are imaginary, primal, fundamental Hoffmanian Conscious Agents working on behalf of evolution, flying around to project a picture of reality onto our minds, making up for something that actually isn’t there, well, it’s there, but it’s not what we think is there, but we aren’t sharp enough to see it.  That’s why we need conscious agents to interpret reality for our minds.  

To what purpose?  To guide us?  How?

It seems like nothing so much as escapism, another excuse for not taking responsibility for ourselves.

DH:  We can develop other theories of perception and reality, and test them. Science always faces the problem, well-known to philosophers of science, that no collection of data uniquely determines the correct theory. But that makes science a creative and engaging process.

(8) Your proposal that consciousness, rather than physics, is fundamental places consciousness outside of science.

DH:  Absolutely not. The onus is on us to provide a mathematically rigorous theory of consciousness, to show how current physics falls out as a special case, and to make new testable predictions beyond those of current physics. 

Math may be the language of science, but science remains a study of what can be observed and measured!  

Mathematical rigor be damned, Hoffman’s conscious agents remain unobservable and unmeasurable, at best they are figments of his math, not science.

DH:  To dismiss the physicalist theory that space-time and objects are fundamental is not to reject the methodology of science. 

It is just to dismiss a specific theory that is false.

The hubris is amazing.  

How does science exist without objects to measure and phenomena to observe? 

Get what Hoffman is saying?  Physicalism is dead.  Atoms, molecules, minerals, chemicals, biology, Earth, time moving forward driving evolution along, are all false and illusions that his Conscious Agents are weaving for us humans.  

Where’s he get that from?

His computer driven theorem tells him so?

Or is it the god of ego telling him so?

(9) You argue that natural selection does not favor true perceptions. But this entails that the reliability of our cognitive faculties is low or inscrutable, and therefore constitutes a defeater for belief in natural selection. See Alvin Plantinga's argument on this (Plantinga, 2002).

DH:  Evolutionary games and genetic algorithms demonstrate that natural selection does not, in general, favor true perceptions. But this entails nothing about the reliability of our cognitive faculties more generally. Indeed, selection pressures might favor more accurate logic and mathematics, since these are critical for the proper estimation of the fitness consequences of actions. The selection pressures on each cognitive faculty must be studied individually before conclusions about reliability are drawn.

This is shackled within an anthropocentric perspective of evolution.  “Truth" is a construct of the human mind.  In the flow of our natural world, fitness, circumstance, luck, honesty, close enough, energy, those matter.  

“Truth” is a human concept created by preachers and politicians to tame social tensions and enable cohesive societies.  

It’s absolutely meaningless to say Fitness Beats Truth in any sort of evolutionarily sense - at least not till after complex human social evolution came along, when it turns into a different story.

Approach the problem from the ground up, first learn about the origins of perceptions and early development of sense organs and brains.  We need to start with a more down to Earth appreciation for awareness and the consciousness that emerges from that, and how it involves the entire spectrum of living creatures.  

We humans definitely have the most incredible minds, but we should appreciate the evolutionary spectrum we are part of, which brings me back to an idea I want to share: Stephen Gould’s missing key, The Magisterium of Physical Reality ~ the Magisterium of our Human Mindscape.  

(10) The undirected join of conscious agents doesn't really solve the problem of combining subjects, because the decision kernel of the combination is just the product of the decision kernels of the two conscious agents that are combined. This product only models two separate agents making separate decisions, not two subjects combined into a single decision-making subject.

DH:  It's true that the decision kernel, D, of the combination starts out as a product, indicating independent decisions. But as the conscious agents in the combination continue to interact, the decisions become less and less independent. 

In the asymptotic limit, the decision kernel Dn as n ∞ of the combination cannot, in general, be written as a product. In this limit, the combination now has a single unified decision kernel, not decomposable as a product of the original decision kernels. 

And yet the two conscious agents in the combination still retain their identities. Thus, the undirected join models a combination process which starts off as little more than the product of the constituent agents but ends up with those agents fully entangled to form a new conscious agent with a genuinely new and integrated decision kernel.

It’s fine and dandy, for the math.  

What about dealing with one’s real life in a challenging constantly changing world?

I live on forty varied acres, seasonal creek, pasture, mesa and woods, with a dog who’s constantly expecting and getting walks, usually off the line with me following her.  I’ve tried hard to envision how these conscious agents could possibly keep up with the complexity of the communications going on between me and the world I’m walking through and the various creatures I interact with.  Let alone between the countless layers of life communicating and observing each other out there in the natural world.

I have tried out Hoffman’s notions, trying to imagine how they could construct the reality I witness in front of me.  But, it heads downhill fast, more than once having me thinking about poor Phaedrus who’s unwinnable intellectual obsession had him curled up in a corner, before tossing in the towel.  

When it comes to sanely living in the world, life is much easier when we envision each entity as its own unique being with a "self" of its' own.  Creatures of every variety with senses and computing power developed for their particular circumstance. 

The apple is still an apple no matter if perceived through our eyes, or a bird’s, or a worm’s, or a fungus spore.

(11) If I have an objection it is that the authors' proposal is maybe not crazy enough. I am with them 100% when they compare neurons to icons on a computer screen. But (if I have understood them correctly) they then go on to attribute absolute existence to consciousness. My own inclination is to propose that consciousness is also just an icon on a computer screen.

DH:  Conscious realism is the hypothesis that the objective world W consists of conscious agents. The theory of conscious agents is a mathematical theory of consciousness that quantifies over qualia that it assumes really exist. 

So this theory does assume the existence of consciousness.

How does this work outside the realm of Earth, with its cornucopia of life forms?  What do Conscious Agents do out in the vast stretches of empty space with its galaxies and dead planets and other lifeless energetic oddities?  

Do conscious agents account for stars and such, and if not, why not?

Or are they only confined to Earth's biosphere?  How does that work?

However, it does not assume incorrigibility of qualia (to believe one has a quale is to have one) or infallibility about the contents of one's consciousness. Psychophysical studies provide clear evidence against incorrigibility and infallibility [see, e.g., the literature on change blindness (Simons and Rensink, 2005)]. Nor does it assume that the mathematics of conscious agents is itself identical to consciousness; a theory is just a theory.

Misusing “theory.”

One might try to interpret the theory of conscious agents as describing a psychophysical monism, in which matter and consciousness are two aspects of a more abstract reality. Such an interpretation, if possible, might still be unpalatable to most physicalists since it entails that dynamical physical properties, such as position, momentum and spin, have definite values only when they are observed.

Inappropriately transferring findings from the subatomic realm, to our macroscopic realm.

(12) One problem with section Evolution and Perception is that the authors never define either their notion of Truth, or their notion of Perception. 

They seem to believe that if you startle at any sound of rustling leaves (as a sort of sensitive predator avoidance system), then when you run from a real predator, you are not in any way in touch with the truth. But this is incorrect.

DH:  For sake of brevity, we omitted our definitions of truth and perception from this paper. But they are defined precisely in papers that study the evolution of perception in Monte Carlo simulations of evolutionary games and genetic algorithms (Mark et al., 2010; Hoffman et al.*, 2013; Marion, 2013; Mark, 2013).

* Abstract

Marr proposed that human vision constructs “a true description of what is there”. He argued that to understand human vision one must discover the features of the world it recovers and the constraints it uses in the process. Bayesian decision theory (BDT) is used in modern vision research as a probabilistic framework for understanding human vision along the lines laid out by Marr. Marr's contribution to vision research is substantial and justly influential. We propose, however, that evolution by natural selection does not, in general, favor perceptions that are true descriptions of the objective world. Instead, research with evolutionary games shows that perceptual systems tuned solely to fitness routinely outcompete those tuned to truth. Fitness functions depend not just on the true state of the world, but also on the organism, its state, and the type of action. Thus, fitness and truth are distinct. Natural selection depends only on expected fitness. It shapes perceptual systems to guide fitter behavior, not to estimate truth. To study perception in an evolutionary context, we introduce the framework of Computational Evolutionary Perception (CEP). We show that CEP subsumes BDT, and reinterprets BDT as evaluating expected fitness rather than estimating truth.

DH:  Briefly, we define a perceptual strategy as a measurable function (or, more generally, a Markovian kernel) p:W X, where W is a measurable space denoting the objective world and X is a measurable space denoting an organism's possible perceptions. If X = W and p is an isomorphism that preserves all structures on W, then p is a naïve realist perceptual strategy. If X W and p is structure preserving on this subset, then p is a strong critical realist strategy. If X need not be a subset of W and p is structure preserving, then p is a weak critical realist strategy. If X need not be a subset of W and p need not be structure preserving, then p is an interface strategy. These strategies form a nested hierarchy: naïve realist strategies are a subset of strong critical realist, which are a subset of weak critical realist, which are a subset of interface.

Naïve realist strategies see all and only the truth. Strong critical realist strategies see some, but in general not all, of the truth. Weak critical realist strategies in general see none of the truth, but the relationships among their perceptions genuinely reflect true relationships in the structure of the objective world W. Interface strategies in general see none of the truth, and none of the true relationships in the structure of W. Thus, our mathematical formulation of perceptual strategies allows a nuanced exploration of the role of truth in perception.

We let these perceptual strategies compete in hundreds of thousands of evolutionary games in hundreds of thousands of randomly chosen worlds, and find that strategies which see some or all of the truth have a pathetic tendency to go extinct when competing against interface strategies that are tuned to fitness rather than truth. The various truth strategies don't even get a chance to compete in the genetic algorithms, because they are not fit enough even to get on the playing field.

Thus, natural selection favors interface strategies that are tuned to fitness, rather than truth. If an organism with an interface perceptual strategy perceives, say, a predatory lion, then it really does perceive a lion in the same sense that someone having a headache really does have a headache. 

However, this does not entail that the objective world, W, contains an observer-independent lion, any more than a blue rectangular icon on a computer desktop entails that there is a blue rectangular file in the computer.    {AKA, Rhetorical Fancy Dancing ;-) }

I’m always caught off guard at Hoffman’s easy conflation of our real world experience with a computer screen, virtual reality games, and the Planck scale for that matter.  In the book he says he wouldn’t trash an important file for the same reason he wouldn’t jump in front of a Maserati.  I think, seriously?  

Can Hoffman really be that disconnected from the biological machine that his mind inhabits?  Doesn’t Hoffman recognize that our mind is an extension of our body, and that survival is its primal imperative?  No outside conscious agents needed.  

Go ahead and try jumping in front of that Maserati speeding down the course.  How would conscious agents account for the arising conflict between big words and physical action?

There is something in the objective world W that triggers the organism to perceive a lion, but whatever that something is, it almost surely doesn't resemble a lion. A lion is simply a species-specific adaptive symbol, not an insight into objective reality.

A lion evolved to be a lion.  How any particular witness happens to perceive that lion is a totally independent story.  

The bottomline is that each lion is one particular form - it’s not a shape shifter.  It doesn’t matter if the observer happens to be a human, hunter, gazelle, jackal, tickbird, parasitic worm, or virus, it’s still the same lion!  

Just as a falling rock coming at your head is going to hurt if it makes contact, regardless of how much “empty space” your intellect tells you that rock is made out of.

Back on point, of course, what each observer is “present to” that’s where the variety comes in. 

No need to resort to deeper unknowable dimensions.  Simply needs a better recognition and understanding of Evolution, Deep Time and an appreciation for the folds within folds of harmonic, cumulative, complexity flowing down the cascade of time, that is this physical reality our bodies inhabit.

To be continued.


Students Introduction to Reality Based Brain/Consciousness Research

The Mind as a Complex Mathematical System with Emergent Properties, Daniel Siegel

A Scientific Explanation of the Human Mind | Daniel Siegel

Dan Siegel: The Neurological Basis of Behavior, Mind, Brain and Human Relationships, Part 1 to 3 

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Giulio Tononi on Consciousness

Consciousness: here, there and everywhere?  Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch

Video, Giulio Tononi on Consciousness

The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, Dr. Christof Koch,

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Allen Brain Observatory: Visualizing the brain in action

Allen Cell Types Database: Understanding the fundamental building blocks of the brain

Allen Institute for Brain Science,  Coding & Vision 101, 12-part undergraduate-level lecture series

Brain Expansion Microscopy, Harvard Medical School,

Lattice light-sheet microscopy

Gut bacteria and mind control: to fix your brain, fix your gut!

New center advances biomedical and brain imaging, University of Delaware,

Stunning Brain Map Reveals Tiny Communication Network

Brain Research: New Discoveries and Breakthroughs at UC Davis


iBiology, Evolution, February 29, 2016

Speaker Biography:

Melina Hale is a professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Neurobiology and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. 

In her first talk, Dr. Hale does an excellent job of defining evolution as a change in heritable characteristics.  She uses examples, such as the variable color of the pepper moth, to explain selection for and against specific characteristics.  She explains how individual species arise and concludes by describing the techniques, such as fossil and DNA analyses, that scientists can use to build “trees” or phylogenies between related species.

In Part 2, Hale explains why the “startle response”, a highly conserved behavior found in most fish and vertebrates, is a good system for studying how neurons connect and neural circuits have evolved. The Mauthner cells are the neurons that control the startle response. By comparing these neurons across many species of fish, it has been possible to follow the organization of the nervous system and control of behavior over hundreds of millions of years. 




Cc’s Students’ Study Guide for The Case Against Reality

©2020 Peter Miesler
I intend to be a witness for a fact based DeepTime, 
Evolutionary perspective on our “human mind” -“physical reality” interface.


Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-Gravity, a critical review of, The Case Against Reality:  Why Evolution Hid The Truth From Our Eyes, by Donald Hoffman, ©2019, W.W.Norton Company

(1.01)  The Prelude, Prof Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball In Zero-Gravity

(1.02)  Chapter 10a, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents (1/3)

(1.03)  Chapter 10b, Community: The Network of Conscious Agents (2/3)

(1.04)  Chapter 10c, Cmty: Network of Hoffmanian Conscious Agents (3/3)

(1.05)  Chapter 1, Mystery: The Scalpel That Split Consciousness

(1.06)  Chapter 2, Beauty: Siren of the Gene

(1.07)  Chapter 3, Reality: Capers of the Unseen Sun

(1.08)  Chapter 4, Sensory: Fitness beats Truth

(1.09)  Chapter 5, Illusory: The Bluff of the Desktop

(1.10)  Chapter 6, Gravity: Spacetime is Doomed

(1.11)  Chapter 7, Virtuality: Inflating a Holoworld

(1.12)  Chapter 8, Polychromy: Mutations of an Interface

(1.13)  Chapter 9, Scrutiny: You Get What You Need, in Both Life and Business

(1.14)  Appendix,  Precisely: The Right to Be (Foolish)


Hoffman/Prakash’s Objects of ConsciousnessObjections and Replies

Frontiers in Psychology - June 17, 2014

(2.01)  4/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness,  (conclusion)

(2.02)  1/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (1-12)

(2.03)  2/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (13-17)

(2.04)  3/4_Hoffman, Objects of Consciousness, questions + replies (18-21)


(3.01)  Diary - But, wait!  There's more.  Ten Learned Responses:

Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentariesDonald D. Hoffman, Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash" 

Psychonomic Bulletin & Reviewvolume 22, pages1551–1576(2015)


We propose that selection favors nonveridical perceptions that are tuned to fitness. Current textbooks assert, to the contrary, that perception is useful because, in the normal case, it is veridical. Intuition, both lay and expert, clearly sides with the textbooks. We thus expected that some commentators would reject our proposal and provide counterarguments that could stimulate a productive debate. ...

(3.02)  Barton Anderson - Where does fitness fit in theories of perception? 


(3.03)  Jonathan Cohen - Perceptual representation, veridicality, and the interface theory of perception. 


(3.04)  Shimon Edelman - Varieties of perceptual truth and their possible evolutionary roots. 


(3.05)  Jacob Feldman - Bayesian inference and “truth”: a comment on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash. 


(3.06)  Chris Fields -Reverse engineering the world: a commentary on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash, 

“The interface theory of perception”. 


(3.07)  Jan Koenderink - Esse est Percipi & Verum est Factum. 


(3.08)  Rainer Mausfeld - Notions such as “truth” or “correspondence to the objective world” play no role in explanatory accounts of perception. 


(3.09)  Brian P. McLaughlin and E. J. Green Are icons sense data


(3.10)  Zygmunt Pizlo - Philosophizing cannot substitute for experimentation: comment on Hoffman, Singh & Prakash. 


(3.11)  Matthew Schlesinger Interface theory of perception leaves me hungry for more. 



Student Resources - Background info:

(4.01)  Rainer Mausfeld: ‘Truth’ has no role in explanatory accounts of perception.
(4.02)  Paul Mealing: considers Hoffman's "Objects of Consciousness.”
(4.03)  The Case For Reality: Because Apparently Someone Needs to Make One
(4.04)  Sabine Hossenfelder in Defense of Scientific Realism and Physical Reality
(4.05)  "Emergence" - A Handy Summary and Resources
(4.06)  Physical Origins of Mind - Dr. Siegel, Allen Institute Brain Science, Tononi, Koch.
(4.07)  Can you trust Frontiers in Psychology research papers?  Students' Resource
(4.08)  Critical Thinking Skills - In Defense of Reality - A Student Resource
(4.09)  Philo+Sophia - Love of Wisdom - A Student Resource



(5.01)    Summary, 

explaining why I pursued this project.


Dr. Mark Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness, while incidentally highlighting why Hoffman’s “Conscious Agents” are luftgeschäft. 

(6.01)  Dr. Mark Solms demystifies Chalmers' "Hard Problem" of Consciousness.

(6.02)  The Other Side of Dr. Mark Solms, farmer, vintner, humanitarian.

(6.03)  Students’ Resource: A representative cross-section of Dr. Mark Solms' scientific publications.


My homemade philosophical underpinning . . . 


(7.01)  An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - “Earth Centrism     
(7.02)  Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide          
(7.03)  Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution
(7.04)  It’s not a “Body-Mind Problem,”  it’s an “Ego-God Problem.”

Feel free to copy and share

Email: citizenschallenge  gmail  com


Students Introduction to Reality Based Brain/Consciousness Research

The Mind as a Complex Mathematical System with Emergent Properties, Daniel Siegel

A Scientific Explanation of the Human Mind | Daniel Siegel

Dan Siegel: The Neurological Basis of Behavior, Mind, Brain and Human Relationships, Part 1 to 3 

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Giulio Tononi on Consciousness

Consciousness: here, there and everywhere?  Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch

Video, Giulio Tononi on Consciousness

The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, Dr. Christof Koch,

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Allen Brain Observatory: Visualizing the brain in action

Allen Cell Types Database: Understanding the fundamental building blocks of the brain

Allen Institute for Brain Science,  Coding & Vision 101, 12-part undergraduate-level lecture series

Brain Expansion Microscopy, Harvard Medical School,

Lattice light-sheet microscopy

Gut bacteria and mind control: to fix your brain, fix your gut!

New center advances biomedical and brain imagingUniversity of Delaware,

Stunning Brain Map Reveals Tiny Communication Network

Brain Research: New Discoveries and Breakthroughs at UC Davis


Some Elements of an Evolutionary Theory of Perception

Perceptual Systems, Historical Background, Innate And Learned Classical perceptual phenomena, Broad theoretical approaches, Current research/future developments.


Ecological approaches to perceptual learning: learning to perceive and perceiving as learning

Agnes SzokolszkyCatherine ReadZsolt Palatinus, et al., 2019

The Essential Elements of an Evolutionary Theory of Perception

Eric P. Charles, 2017,

The evolution of early symbolic behavior in Homo sapiens

Kristian Tylén, Riccardo Fusaroli, Sergio Rojo, et al. PNAS 2020

The Evolution and Fossil History of Sensory Perception in Amniote Vertebrates, March 21, 2018 

Evolutionary Specialization of Tactile Perception in Vertebrates

Eve R. SchneiderElena O. Gracheva, and Slav N. Bagriantsev, 2016

Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions

Leda Cosmides & John Tooby, Handbook of Emotions, 2000

The evolution of modern human brain shape

Simon Neubauer, Jean-Jacques Hublin and Philipp Gunz, 2018:

Intrinsic Multiperspectivity: Conceptual Forms and the Functional Architecture of the Perceptual System

Rainer Mausfeld, PhD.

Perceptual Worlds and Sensory Ecology

By: Stephen Burnett, PhD, Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):75

Ch.17. A Hierarchical Model of the Evolution of Human Brain Specializations

H. Clark Barrett

Surroundings and Evolution Shape Human Sight, Smell and Taste

by: Andrea Korte, February 19, 2017


The bottom line, courtesy of:

Mysteries of Modern Physics by Sean Carroll

Jan 29, 2020  -  Darwin College Lecture Series

Sean Carroll,  10:45

. . .  these are the particles that make up you and this table and me and this laptop and really everything that you have ever seen with your eyes touched with your fingers smelled with your nose in your life. 

Furthermore we know how they interact with each other and even better than that, the most impressive fact is that there will not be a discovery tomorrow or next century or a million years from now which says you know what there was another particle or another force that we didn't know about but now we realize plays a crucial role in our everyday life. 

As far as our everyday life is concerned by which I really mean what you can see with your eyes touch with your hands etc we’re done finding the underlying ingredients. That is an enormous achievement in human history one that does not get enough credit, because of course as soon as we do it we go on to the next thing.  

Physics is not done.  I'm not saying that physics is done, but physics has understood certain things and those things include everything you encounter in your everyday life - unless you're a professional experimental physicist or unless you're looking of course outside our everyday life at the universe and other places where we don't know what’s going on. … 


Peter Miesler

aka citizenschallenge

email:  citizenschallenge at gmail

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