A model of mind from the perspective of temporal structuralism
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Symmetry and symmetry-breaking have, in the last one hundred and fifty years, become incorporated as central explanatory concepts within the natural sciences and mathematics. An abbreviated review of the incorporation of symmetry within the disciplines of mathematics, physics, philosophy and biology, provides a frame within which to develop of a model of mind. This thesis combines the framework provided by symmetry and symmetry-breaking with a structural understanding of self-referential dynamics in examining the implied Kantian model of mind. It considers that Kant’s assumption of a transcendental self unnecessarily isolates consciousness from being understood as a product of complex natural processes. Kant’s structural model of mind is examined and reformulated in terms of a more fundamental form and process. The space required for any non-reductionist model of mind is proposed as being generated through an enfolding of dimensionality in the occurrence of categorical level symmetry breaking during evolutionary development. The temporally extended function is accounted for in terms of self-referential structural dynamics operating within the primary temporal asymmetry. The model of mind proposed is created through application of naturalistic explanations incorporating symmetry and has attributes that may prove of interest to non-reductionists. The phenomenological geometry established provides a framework to understand the experiential phenomenon of qualia while conforming to the requirements of a natural explanation. Information is conceived as being transmitted inwaveforms propagated across spaces of enfolded dimensionalities through structural framesdemarcating nested spaces and condensing in the synthesis of unity in the object of attention,or image, and returning to distribute, the now reformulated, information outward acrosscontextual frames and spaces. This simplified dynamic is considered to operate at all levels of natural phenomena and involves the reintroduction of Bohm’s concepts of implicate and explicate order. The result is a model of mind employing a minimum structural form and self-referential dynamics that has potential for integration across the discipline theoretic frames of the natural sciences while retaining, for the domain of conscious phenomena, an independent causal significance in terms of a temporal structuralism.