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Natalia Janson: Can We Resolve the Mind-Body Problem with Mathematics? at TEDxLoughboroughU (Transcript)

Is our field material and observable? Yes, because you can measure its components in an experiment as the rates of change of neural variables, or velocities. Is it immaterial and unobservable? Yes, because it exists in a multi-dimensional space, which we cannot experience with any of our senses, and which we cannot observe directly with any measuring instruments. Is it directly connected with both kinds of brain data? Yes, as we just discussed. Does it develop? Let us see.

By now, you might be wondering: If for any spontaneously evolving device or organ, such as the mechanical clock or a heart, one can introduce a velocity field and call it a mind, why do the clock and the heart not think and why does the brain think? This concerns with the physical architecture of the brain. In all devices or organs, the architecture is rigidly fixed. Any changes are slow and lead to less efficient functioning. The brain is fundamentally different because it is plastic. It is the only device in this Universe, known to us, which functions by means of modifying its own architecture in real time. The connections in the brain appear, disappear, weaken and strengthen non-stop.

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When the brain modifies its connections, it simultaneously modifies its velocity field. So the brain’s velocity field is unique because it is plastic, it develops. How exactly it develops depends on the signals, on the stimuli, which we receive at our sensors, which means on the environment.

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Finally, it is well appreciated that all brains are different, and in different brains there are different velocity fields. So, the velocity field of every brain is unique. So we have ticked all the boxes here.

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To summarize: To resolve the mind-body problem, I propose to identify the mind with the plastic velocity field of the brain. But somebody might say: These arrows in a multi-billion-dimensional space cannot represent the mind, because they are not real, they are invented by mathematicians. But so are any laws of physics and chemistry represented as mathematical equations. I do not know if these laws are real or not, but the very real physical world functions as if these laws were real. The velocity field of the brain is only these laws combined in a special manner. So if we agree to regard the laws of nature real, we should be consistent and accept the reality of the velocity field of the brain.

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By Pangambam S

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