Electromagnetic-Field Theories of Mind

Some theories that propose an electromagnetic nature of consciousness are reviewed.

" .. Some theorists turn from these circuits to their electromagnetic fields to deal with such difficulties concerning the mind’s qualia, unity, privacy, and causality. They include Kohler, Libet, Popper, Lindahl, Arhem, Charman, Pockett, John, McFadden, Fingelkurts, Maxwell, and Jones. .. [this review] concludes that while field theories face challenges, they aren’t easily dismissed, for they draw on considerable evidence and may avoid serious problems in neuroscience concerning the mind’s qualia, unity, causality, and ontology."

For the author one of the most recurrent problem that face those theories is the absence of an any telepathic phenomenon (because the EM fields are not totally confined to the brain) but in this web are treated the telepathic and non-local phenomena and viewed that precisely the different electromagnetic configurations and emissions have much to say on this [1].

He also detect some other problems but they can be solved if they are applied experimentally proved functions and solutions of other theories, for example for a Globalist Field Theory class he say:

" This theory explains the mind’s unity without problematic synchrony. But it’s unclear about how colours and shapes bind together in their right locations in images."

Nevertheless it can be taken in account the theory of Ghosh et al. [2], and view that all can be integrated in an always present electromagnetic field, with a fractal structure, by means of its resonances.

Different theories can be grouped in distinct groups, for example in relation to how mind exists relative to fields. The theories most supported in this web are the computationalist field theories, because the electromagnetic fields have always an informative nature (albeit very simple in some cases, or incredibly complex in locations like brain) and their transformations and interactions (computation) make consciousness to appear. Otherwise there are also other kind of electromagnetic mind theories that still need in their theoretical construct a non-physical mind (dualistic theories) and that they are not supported here, because they dont solve anything, and there exists proofs and works in a more explicit direction; that electromagnetic fields are the mind (and matter, in general, it can be said that acts as the memory).

Despite the drawbacks that mentions, he also view facts that underpin those theories:

" .. there’s evidence that sensory qualia correlate with specific spatio-temporal patterns in neural fields, and with specific electrical activities in sensory detectors."

" .. EEG studies by Freeman (e.g. 1991) show that various odours (e.g. from bananas or sawdust) correlate with specific spatial patterns distributed across mammalian olfactory areas. The patterns altered when animals were trained to associate the odours with rewards, showing that the correlations were with odour awareness, not just chemical stimuli."

" .. transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) produces fields as strong as the brain’s own native fields, and these TMS fields make nerves fire."

" In Maxwell’s view, fields are the best candidate for what’s intrinsically conscious, for only they are continuous and smooth like visual images ( Maxwell, 1978, p. 398). This is his solution to Sellars’(1965) ‘grain problem’ of how discrete, grainy molecules and cells in brains create continuous, smooth images."

A computationalist field theory that have aspects that are treated and valued in this web is that of McFadden:

" McFadden (2002b, p. 25) argues that synchrony is a global event that no neurons can oversee, so it isn't even detectable while encoding images. Instead binding comes from fields, though synchrony still plays a role. Synchronized firing by neurons doing similar tasks amplifies their contribution to the brain's electromagnetic field, but it's the field that does the binding."

Where the synchronized activity propagates across brains at the speed of light.

Is interesting how the last mentioned (McFadden) face the free will issue, explaining that although conscious field is deterministic is also free in that it affects behavior instead of being epiphenomenal. Assuming that determinism can be compatible with free will construed as self-determination. He also said that private experience of those information fields are not different from external word processes, instead, the mental is constructed from its inner, intrinsic nature (with echoes Chalmers' neutral monism, where the basic stuff of the world is not mental or physical, but neutral).

Generally Mcfadden (and Jones) take a panpsychist view because for him information is conscious at all levels, which agrees with the approaches here addressed [3]:

" The ‘discrete’ consciousness of elementary particles is limited and isolated. But as particles join into a field they form a unified ‘field’ consciousness. As these fields affect motor neurons, the brain’s consciousness is no longer an ineffectual epiphenomenon, for its volition can communicate with the world."

It's also interesting when the paper author says that Maxwell treated all fields as conscious (like Priban) but that electromagnetic fields are the only energy fields with strength along neural circuits.

[1] EMMIND › Nonlocality & Fields › Nonlocal Distant Mind Influence › The Electromagnetism Active Role

[2] Ghosh, S., Aswani, K., Singh, S., Sahu, S., Fujita, D., & Bandyopadhyay, A. (2014). Design and construction of a brain-like computer: a new class of frequency-fractal computing using wireless communication in a supramolecular organic, inorganic system. Information, 5(1), 28-100.

[3] EMMIND › Endogenous Fields & Mind › Endogenous Electromagnetic Fields › EM Mind - Principal › Other important › Panpsychism

Last modified on 15-Mar-16

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