Volume 11, Issue 1, 2013

Information, Universality and Consciousness: A Relational Perspective
Paul Baird, Laboratoire de Mathématiques de Bretagne Atlantique, Umiversité de Bretagne Occidentale Brest, France

In a relational universe, the only properties of a system that have meaning are those that arise from correlations with other systems. No state exists in an absolute sense independently of other states. Our basic premise is that the universe is built from elementary combinatorial (or relational) structures. These structures change and if we are not to suppose the existence of laws over and above the universe, then they must encode the rules for their own change. Geometry, time and consciousness, it is argued, emerge from such a universe as relational Kantian phenomena.

A Hilbert-Space Framework for the Genesis of Conscious Mental States
Hans van den Hooff, Eerste Weteringsdwarsstraat 2, 1017 TN Amsterdam, Netherlands

Starting from Jung's psychoanalytical perspective on mind and building on recently developed cognitive systems theory based on the mathematics of a Hilbert space, a formalism is developed in which mental states - conscious as well as unconscious - are described by state vectors in a Hilbert space. Particularly, it is proposed that the mental process of metabolization of blurred, semi-conscious, or dreamlike mental states into clear ideas and unambiguous cognitive states can be formalized using eigenvalue equations. A comparison between experiences from psychoanalytical clinical practice and the phenomena to be expected from the proposed model are presented. Also, correspondences between the model and results from neuroscientific research on brain-hemisphere functionality are identified. Implications for clinical methodology are suggested.

Mental Causation or Continuous Novelty
Jason Brown, New York University Medical Center, New York, USA

A microgenetic approach to thought and action begins with a description of the mind/brain state as a sequence of qualitative whole-part shifts. Action and perception develop over a hierarchic micro-temporal process that is a becoming-into-being, initiated in an unconscious core and terminating in the objective world. The state is epochal, in that phases are simultaneous until completion. Thought is pre-perception, aligned with parallel phases in action. Action and speech deposit in a space that is antecedent to object-perception but coincident with thought. The tendency for action to occlude thought, and the reverse, implies that a given mind/brain state is dedicated to action or thought but not both, though axial motility can implement thinking and gesture can accompany thought. The sequence of whole-part transforms over phases in mind and brain gives qualitative partitions in a passage from potential to actual that is not clearly compatible with causal theory. The transmission from onset to termination in every mind/brain state is a wave-like process that is submitted to internal and external constraints at every phase. The process is comparable to the flow of a river or the stream of a fountain, in which the initial or upstream phase becomes the final or downstream phase. A single configuration is shaped at successive segments by constraints that eliminate mal-adaptive routes of derivation. The shift from whole to part iterated over phases in the mental and brain state is a specification of category into member, or an elicitation of figural elements out of background fields. There is mapping of this process from brain to cognition. The derivation of neural and mental categories into virtual or actual contents is continuous, like a traveling wave, with the transformation of categorical form in a passage from mind to world, self to object, memory to perception and past to present. The changing modes of cognition at successive points in this transmission refer to constraints on a single form, not a causal interaction of different mechanisms. The paper first takes up the problem in relation to causation and process theory, then goes on to interpret some clinical phenomena that reinforce these theoretical claims.

Financial Time Operator and the Complexity of Time
Karl Gustafson, Department of Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA and Ioannis Antoniou, Mathematics Department, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece

The world's financial system (WFS) exhibits all of the properties of a complex system: irreversibility, unpredictability, and innovations. Moreover, it implements an exquisite set of durations such as tick time, execute time, time slicing, time-weighted averaging, sampling time, inter-trade duration, position-holding time, option termination time, among others. It is the purpose of this paper to construct a time operator in the sense of complex unstable dynamical system theory for the world financial system. As a consequence, we have opened up a new and much wider vista of extraordinarily complex systems possessing many internal times of great dynamic inter-importance. We believe more generally that the complexity of time as emphasized in this paper should become an essential part of future complex dynamical systems theory.

Time and Aging: A Physicist's Look at Gerontology
Jos Uffink, Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

This paper addresses the question whether gerontology can profit by relying on developments in theoretical physics and insights from the foundations of physics. After giving a brief overview on various aspects of the nature of time and age as discussed in the literature on the philosophy of physics, I critically examine an approach in gerontology (Schroots and Birren 1988, Yates 1988) that advocate the idea that aging is to be explained on a physical basis, by means of the second law of thermodynamics, and to be explicated by introducing an "intrinsic time'' variable. I argue, however, that thermodynamics does not provide the desired basis for a concept of aging. Indeed I argue that the only lesson the gerontology might profitably take over from the philosophy of physics is to make a sharper conceptual distinction between the choice of a time scale and the conception of age as a dynamical variable.

Last revision: 15 Aug 2013