Volume 6, Issue 1, 2008

Measure of Time: A Meeting Point of Psychophysics and Fundamental Physics
Jiri Wackermann, Department of Empirical and Analytical Psychophysics, Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg, Germany

In the present paper the relation between objective and subjective time is studied from a neutral, non-dualist perspective. Adoption of the relational concept of time leads to fundamental problems of time measurement, of the uniformity of time measures, and of a native measure of duration in subjective experience. Experimental data on discrimination and reproduction of time intervals are reviewed, and relevant models of internal time representations are discussed. Special attention is given to the "dual klepsydra model" (DKM) and to the outstanding properties of the reproduction function yielded by the DKM. Time scales generated by a DKM-based reproduction mechanisms are studied. It is shown that such "klepsydraic clocks" generate time measures which are non-uniform with respect to objective time, yet internally consistent within an ensemble of such clocks, and in this sense "quasi-uniform". Competing concepts of subjective time and modeling principles of internal time representation are briefly discussed. Some interesting parallels between our psychophysical approach and E.A. Milne's treatment of the problem of uniform time are drawn in the Appendix.

The Senses Linking Mind and Matter
Magni Martens and Harald Martens, Norwegian Food Research Institute / IKBM / UMB, As, Norway and Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The present paper suggests how, from a scientific pespective, the senses establish a link between mind and matter. Ongoing research in sensory science and data analysis is related to the ongoing debate about a non-reductive theory of consciousness based on psychophysical principles. Sensory science is interdisciplinary and deals with the human perception of objects by the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, etc. Perception as information processing is here understood in terms of interactions between external physical stimuli and internal mental states resulting in behavioral responses. To deal with the complex and dynamic transformation between external physical energies and internal psychological experiences, multivariate methods of data analysis are shown to be useful. Examples will be given from food science where cognition and emotion, activated by sense perception, are vital for the survival, health, and well-being of humans. These approaches may contribute to bridging the explanatory gap between the subjectively experienced and the objectively observed world. Future challenges towards deeper interdisciplinary discourses addressing mind-matter research in real-world situations are at stake.

Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem
Donald D. Hoffman, Department of Cognitive Science and Management, University of California at Irvine, USA

Despite substantial efforts by many researchers, we still have no scientific theory of how brain activity can create, or be, conscious experience. This is troubling, since we have a large body of correlations between brain activity and consciousness, correlations normally assumed to entail that brain activity creates conscious experience. Here I explore a solution to the mind-body problem that starts with the converse assumption: these correlations arise because consciousness creates brain activity, and indeed creates all objects and properties of the physical world. To this end, I develop two theses. The multimodal user interface theory of perception states that perceptual experiences do not match or approximate properties of the objective world, but instead provide a simplified, species-specific, user interface to that world. Conscious realism states that the objective world consists of conscious agents and their experiences; these can be mathematically modeled and empirically explored in the normal scientific manner.

Presence and Reality: An Option to Specify Panpsychism ?
Georg Franck, Department of Digital Methods in Architecture and Planning, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

Panpsychism is the doctrine that mind is a fundamental feature of the world, existing throughout the universe. One problem with panpsychism is that it is a purely theoretical concept so far. For progress towards an operationalization of the idea, this paper suggests to make use of an ontological difference involved in the mind-matter distinction. The mode in which mental phenomena exist is called presence. The mode in which matter and radiation exist is called reality. Physical theory disregards presence in both the form of mental presence and the form of the temporal present. In contrast to mental presence, the temporal present is objective in the perspective of the third person. This relative kind of objectivity waits to be utilized for a hypothesis of how the mental and the physical are interrelated. In order to do so, this paper translates the mind-matter distinction into the distinction between mental and physical time and addresses the problem that panpsychism tries to attack head-on in these temporal terms. There are, in particular, two issues thus getting involved: (1) discussions about a time observable and (2) the quantum Zeno effect.

Last revision: 23 April 2008