TAs 102-104 (Vimal)
Response 5 (to C4, Müller)
by Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal
3 February 2008, posted 9 February 2008
Thanks for interesting comments.  Kindly see inline responses/comments in blue.  I have highlighted in yellow some of your text to address them.  Your framework is indeed very interesting to me; therefore, our collaboration will be fruitful.
I read your article (Müller, 2007) located at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/articles/3.1.030.muller.pdf 
How do physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience? … The starting point of my proposal is this: this is an erroneous question, due to a mistaken premise, and the mind–brain problem cannot be successfully addressed so long as the question is not corrected.”
               RLPV: I agree that asking right question is necessary. However, questions depend on the context. I think, “How do physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience?” is valid and natural question in the context of materialism, which says mind emerges from non-experiential inert matter. How that happens is natural and logical question because if this question cannot be answered then we need to look for other views. Therefore, this question that leads to famous Levine’s explanatory gap (Type -1 in TA104), is useful as it led us to investigate dual-aspect framework, which unpacks your constructivism-framework: “Matter is a structure that crystallizes within mind” (please see below for this).
“To start with, what is commonly called consciousness, and specifically its center, ongoing experience, is our only entrance to ourselves and the world. This is a basic consideration for constructivism. For the present discussion, I will define “mind” or “consciousness” as identical with “presently ongoing subject-inclusive mind-nature-and-all experience” (SE), which is to varying degrees a collective experience as well. … it is not possible to “transcend” it. All mind-nature qualities and structures, including the “self”, originate (are created) and remain within SE,
which is not structured except for the results of subject-inclusive operations; the resulting structures are not derived from any pre-existing inside or outside entities. This principle may be called zero-derivation (0-D).”
               RLPV: Good, I like it; so SE=mind=consciousness, the same precise definition as in PE-SE framework. What do you mean by ‘SE, which is not structured’? How SE originates or is created and by whom? If SE is not derived, then it must be fundamental and always exists; but then you need to address explanatory gap of Type 2 (see TA104): how a priori a system will know happiness, sadness, painfulness, and so on are going to be human/animal’s SEs at the onset of universe, such as during Big-Bang.  You really need to unpack all the terms you have used. I think, PE-SE does the unpacking job (see TA103 and 104). So far, we still need to extend our investigation to address hypotheses H1 vs. H2 of TA104 and two models (soliton-BEC vs. temporal frequency tuned mechanisms) of CFF dependent phenomenal time in TA105. Your constructivism/encompassing-framework and our PE-SE framework appear to be complementary, rather than contradictory; the latter appears to be doing unpacking job for the former. 
{3}“… they are not identical with the objectifiable events in neural receptors, the spinal cord, or the brain, that are needed for them to occur. Also, SE cannot be one of its own contents, nor can SE be reduced to content. … a world which is specifically their own … and which they create.”
               RLPV: This needs unpacking. When you do that then one could argue that SE, though fundamental, has its neural correlates. SE and its content are two different entities: SE is mental aspect and its content in terms of neural correlates is material aspect. Please note that neural signals carry SEs/PEs. If you say humans and animals create their own world, then question is how and who are they (neural-nets, brain, body, or mind=SE, or something else)? I think that we need to integrate our framework with neuroscience to make them effective. 
“SE encompasses all mental structures: of “self”, of “world”, of “all”. They are created within it.  But SE cannot become completely structured because it cannot be a structure within itself.”
               RLPV:  SE is not a structure;  do you mean that the contents of SE are structures but not SE itself.  Then what is SE ?  You need to unpack it.
“Because MIR-belief (for instance of theistic or naturalistic type) is a consequence of language use,..”
               RLPV:  Please elaborate it; why language entails MIR-belief and subject-object split.  If my language area is deleted, say by accident or disease or by birth, then you mean, I will NOT have MIR-belief, I will NOT have subject-object split, and I will not have explanatory gap of Type-1.  I do not think so because people who cannot speak, they will still have MIR-belief, subject-object split, and the gap. Car parked in parking lot is really a car whether we perceive it or not, is that not right? 
               On the other hand, for yogi in samadhi (nirvana) state, the triad, subject (karta), object (karm) and SE (kriya) all unify: if enemy is sitting in front of yogi, yogi feels that s/he merges with enemy and enmity disappears. This is the claim of yoga and is used in yoga-therapy to reduce hatred against opponents or in family problems. 
“This second asymptotic relation may (and often does) prompt attempts to structure the not-yet-structured part of experience (for instance in religious or scientific beliefs).”
               RLPV:  Please elaborate that SE is mostly non-structured entity. What do you mean? I have SE of objects in my visual field; objects are structured because I can see solid stone or car in front of me as they are content of my SE, but the SE itself is mental entity and cannot be structured. That is what you mean. Then how can SE be partly structured?
“…the ongoing unitary experience (of one or more experiencers), with its unstructured center, encompasses – is wider than – any possible word-concept or combination of concepts that are structured (created) within it.”
               RLPV:  I guess, when you say SE is unstructured, you mean SE cannot be created/crystallized, whereas matter crystallizes within SE.  Is that right ?  However, see hypothesis H2 in Section 2.4.2 and 2.4.4 of TA104 (attached), where SE is viewed as emergent property from PEs:  For example, the reportable SE redness might have emerged during the interaction of two types of signal: (i) feedforward long wavelength (say 600 nm) stimulus dependent PE-carrying-neural-signal from retina to LGN to V1 to V4/V8 color area  and (ii) feedback fronto-parietal attention related re-entrant PE-carrying-neural-signal (call it FB), i.e., SE redness related to 600 nm light is 
               redness600 =  (FF600)*(FB), in analogy to NaCl = (Na+)*(Cl-).”
“…like objects, the self (I, as a soul, as a mind, as a person different from the environment and from other persons, as a very important or as a failed and miserable person, etc.) is a construction. … The self is also not identical with the encompassing ongoing experience; on the contrary, we have to actively build, posit, and maintain our selves inside experience, …”.
               RLPV:  In PE-SE framework, ‘Self’ is SE of subject, which is consistent with above.
“More explicit ontological dualistic positions (i.e., subject plus world) are also not clear. They imply belief in two realities, without unity, and their common basis in experience is lost. Or one talks about “dual aspects” of reality, but the operational (subject-inclusive) meaning remains unclear: are they “aspects-in-themselves”?”.
               RLPV:  My understanding is as follows: in dualism, mind and matter are on equal footing; they have independent existence, but they somehow interact such as in Eccles’s mind-brain liaison. In dual-aspect model, such as PE-SE framework, a primal entity has two aspects: material and mental aspects; in inert matter and elementary particles, the SEs/PEs are in superimposed state in them, i.e., inert matter ‘carry’ SEs/PEs in unexpressed form and matter behaves as-if it is non-experiential unless it (such as neural-net) satisfies essential ingredients of SEs. Further details are in TA103-104. Constructivism framework is silent on how matter and mind came into existence; here, we just report, for example, what we see in our visual field; i.e., matter crystallizes within SE when essential ingredients of SE (wakefulness, attention, re-entry, and working memory) are satisfied. Thus, PE-SE framework is complementarily unpacks constructivism framework.


“…relapse back into the same or another form of MIR-belief if the origin of metaphysics in the subject–object split is not addressed.”.


            RLPV:  The PE-SE framework addresses subject–object split in Section 5.2 of TA103 (Vimal, 2008): “The PE-SE framework bridges the explanatory gaps and explains Self (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007).  There could be three types of explanatory gaps, namely the gap between (i) subjective experience (SE) of object and the object of SE, (ii) SE and the subject of SE, and (iii) subject and object, where the term ‘object’ means internal representation of object (or associated neural correlates).  The first gap is the famous Levine’s explanatory gap (Levine, 1983): the gap between what we believe subjectively about our qualitative experiences (i.e. SE), and scientific descriptions (i.e., internal representation or associated neural correlates) of those experiences.  The hypothesis is that SE, its subject, and its object are the same neural activity in a neural-net, where a neural activity is a proto-experiential entity in our framework.  In this context, neural-net also includes self-related brain areas (Northoff, 2007; Northoff et al., 2006).  This is true because re-entry binds all the neural signals of areas specialized for a particular attribute, such as visual areas V4/V8 for color, V5 for motion, and cortical midline structures[1] for Self.  In re-entrant framework (Edelman, 1993, 2003; Hamker, 2004; Tononi, 2004), signals re-enter repeatedly in a neural-net and bind all the features. We are referring this re-entrant signal related to the triad (subject, object, and their SEs) being the same neural activity.  These gaps are actually closed if the above hypothesis is not rejected; this triad appears distinct in our daily lives, but it is a sort of illusion because internally they are same neural-activity.  When information related to ‘subject experiencing objects’ projected (perceptually) outside (Lehar, 2003; Velmans, 2007), objects appear in three-dimension with respect to reference subject (self).  Alternatively, one could argue that the internal reality of the triad being the same neural-activity in a neural-net is an illusion with respect to the external reality of the triad being distinct (and vice-versa). [“In meditative state of ‘samadhi’, the triad (subject or observer, object or observed, and SE or observation) appears merged both externally and internally (see also pages 1-10 of (Dutta, 1933)).” Neural explanation is that the triad is same neural-activity internally, which dominates during samadhi (nirvana) state, whereas in normal state the triad is perceptually projected externally and the system is evolutionary adapted to have subject-object split for its survival.]


“… no variety of realism or materialism, even if it is modified or mitigated in one way or another – for instance “dual aspect views” – can deal with the mind–brain question, because materialism implies belief in mind-free MIR.  Traditional metaphysics ontology abolishes the subject.”.


            RLPV:  The PE-SE framework is a dual-aspect model and unpacks constructivism-framework.  If you disagree then please justify.


“The mind does not emerge from the brain, because it encompasses (knowledge of) the



            RLPV:  The PE-SE framework unpacks ‘emerges’ and ‘encompasses’, and entails that they are complementary rather than contradictory in some sense.



“In an objective view, mental function (including SE) depends without question on brain function, and this objective dependency does not change in 0-D.”


            RLPV:  I like it; this is what I mean by, “the constructivism-framework (matter is a structure that crystallizes within mind) and dual-aspect PE-SE framework might be useful in addressing mind-brain problem, in complementary way to other views such as physicalism.”



In the following I will first comment on some of the points in your R4.
Re [3] :  I will add links to newer versions of your paper in the web site; the previous ones will be still available for review which is desirable since there have already been commentaries.
               RLPV: fine
Re [4] :  in case you are not familiar with vonGlasersfeld’s work, you might profit from reading his outline in TA17.  -  You ask ‘how we can say that physics is MIR’ :  the MIR-view is a very common but erroneous opinion in doing science.  For instance there is no reason to assume that as you write ‘physical laws are third person science’.  To eliminate observer-bias is important but that does not mean eliminating observers, thus it does not result in third-person or subject-free science.  All experience including science is subject-inclusive, and subject-exclusive objectivity can only be a shortcut and makeshift procedure.
               RLPV: fine, but I wonder the science will be any different if it were totally MIR.
Re [6] :  You write :  ‘we are objects for other subjects ...’  This needs qualification.  Nobody’s subjective ongoing experience can become an object for anyone including for oneself.  One can see other people as objects, for instance their bodies, their structured selves, personalities, their ideas, their behavioral ‘products’, but not the center of structuring activity, which is not structured.  That is not restricted to humans, as you write, and animals have to structure their own world from no structure, including amoebae (cf. Jacob vonUexküll).  If that is what you mean by proto-experience it quite agrees with my view.  
               RLPV: agree
Re [8] :  Summaries and lists of Jaspers’ work are available on the internet :  Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, and other sources.  The important publications are surely available at Harvard.
               RLPV: I will appreciate if you can email me those articles that are directly relevant to our discussion.  Thanks.
Re [9] :  ‘mind and matter are not independent, rather they are the two aspects of the same entity’ :  as I mentioned earlier, the mind is the encompassing matrix of concepts including matter.  Thus I agree that they are certainly not independent, but neither are they two aspects of one entity.  Matter is a structure that crystallizes with in mind. 
               RLPV: Please elaborate, “Matter is a structure that crystallizes within mind”. I agree that I have vivid SE of various objects in my external visual field. I guess, you are saying that these objects crystallize in my SE (mind).  You need to unpack ‘crystallization process’: (i) how matter crystallizes/emerges within mind/SE and from where mind/SE springs up; (ii) “how does working objective knowledge originate within encompassing experience?” (Müller, 2007).  
The PE-SE framework does this unpacking via dual-aspect model. For example, consider red moving car: long wavelength reflected from the moving car hits photoreceptors and phototransduction process converts wavelength and intensity of light into electrical signal which then travel via retinal, LGN, and cortical cell to activate V4/V8 color area, action motion area V5, IT for shape. The re-entry process binds all the attributes of car. Then resonance process crystallizes the red moving car in our SE. Further details are given in TA103 and 104.  Please see Section 2.5 of updated TA104 (pdf file is attached)
Pease define your term ‘mind’ and ‘matter’.  I am assuming that mind = SE or mental aspect and matter = material aspect of same primal entity (for example, string has two aspects) (Sections 3 and 4 of TA104). SE of subject = self or ‘I-ness’.  The triad ‘SE of objects’, self, and ‘processing of SEs’, all are the same neural signals because re-entry binds all local attribute related signals (such as color in V4/V8, motion in V5, self in CMS etc). In PE-SE framework, neural-signals carry SEs/PEs. When essential ingredients (wakefulness, attention, re-entry, and working memory) of SE are satisfied in neural-nets, SEs of ‘objects and subject’ emerge, i.e., “matter crystallizes within mind” via two complementary mechanisms: (i) via resonating the SEs/PEs carried by neural-signals with that by external stimuli, and/or (ii) via Orch OR of Hameroff-Penrose (if it indeed happens!).  


Re [11] :  ‘SEs are neural activities’ :  I disagree; this is neuro-mythology.  Neural activity is a concept within mind.  See below.
               RLPV: Since neural-signal carries SEs/PEs, it is not ‘neuro-mythology’ in PE-SE framework. I agree that in materialism, it may be ‘neuro-mythology’ because of the explanatory gap of Type-1 (how SE can emerge from non-experiential inert matter). However, PE-SE framework in NOT materialistic framework, rather it is dual-aspect (NOT dualism) framework.  I think that we might have similar views but terminology is causing problem. We need to define our term before using them. From my side: “In general, the term ‘consciousness’ may includes self (subjective or first person experience of subject), subjective experience (SE) of object, processing of SE, thought processing, memory, attention, access and phenomenal awareness, free will, qualia, initiation of activities, and/or other cognitive processing.  However, in PE-SE framework (Bruzzo & Vimal, 2007; MacGregor & Vimal, 2008; Vimal, 2007, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c; Vimal & Davia, 2008), consciousness and SE are interchangeably used.  Therefore, the term NCC (neural correlates of consciousness) initiated by (Crick & Clark, 1994; Crick & Koch, 2003) may differ from the use of term ‘consciousness’ in this article. NCC may also differ from the term ‘self-referential processing’ used by (Northoff et al., 2006); however, our use of the term ‘Self’ for SE of subject may be somewhat closer to (Northoff et al., 2006).”  So SE=consciousness=mind; matter=inert non-experiential entity but it carry PEs/SEs in PE-SE framework. However, in materialism matter does not carry PEs/SEs, it is just inert non-experiential entity.
In this second part I comment on another aspect of your proposal :  you seem to share the notion of the ‘hard problem’ with David Chalmers.  The following quote from my TA45 addresses this point :
“ [1] 
Our work in psychiatry always involves both sides of the mind-body divide.  But despite much effort to clarify the nature of the relation between mind and body, this question is still a riddle.  Why would this be so ?  In the following I will make a number of suggestions - all of them to be regarded as working hypotheses, and subject to discussion - how one can try to deal with this difficulty.
It is becoming clear that one central unresolved question in understanding the mind-brain relationship is not of experimental type but stems from difficulties in the use of concepts.  And since everybody uses concepts, this is a problem not only for linguists and philosophers, but also for us clinicians and biologists, among others.  For clinical and experimental questions in this field to be seen in a meaningful overall context, the conceptual ones have to be addressed as well.
In particular, the widely used assumption of a primary subject-object split produces several difficulties, such as a loss of unity of experience, static ontology ("is-ness") and, most importantly for our present discussion, the problem of the mind-brain relation.  These will be discussed in the following.
The mind-brain (or mind-body) problem has been repeatedly formulated.  The earliest statement I am aware of is by St. Augustine, who wrote : "… modus, quo corporibus adhaerent spiritus et animalia fiunt, omnino mirus est, nec comprehendi ab homine potest, et hoc ipse homo est."  Sixteen hundred years later, we have a much quoted opinion by David Chalmers : "The hard problem ... is the question of how physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience."
Comparing the two formulations, one can note a difference : Augustinus wrote that humans cannot understand this "miraculous" relationship at all, while Chalmers called it a "hard problem", which may suggest that investment of enough time and money will eventually make the difficulty disappear.  It is thus better to quote Chalmers than Augustinus in grant applications; for the time being though I will side with the earlier author.  -  But there is a similarity as well :  neither one asks whether or not the mind is actually connected to the body, only in what way.  Without stating so - and possibly without being aware of it - they both imply that mind and body are primarily separated (in St. Augustine's case long before Descartes), and that this separation would then have to be overcome in a second step.
I want to suggest that the mind-brain problem cannot be solved so long as, due to a mistaken implicit premise, one asks the wrong question.  To support this claim, a re-consideration of some concept functions is required. ”
I would be interested in your opinion on TA45 and its modified more recent version in 
Here I will only add the conclusion of the latter paper :
“ 9. Conclusion:  Brain in mind
The mind does not emerge from the brain, because it encompasses (knowledge of) the brain.  Everything we know of the brain originates and remains in undivided subjective individual and collective mind-and-nature-and-all experience.  And so does everything else we know: feelings, self, nature, others, religion.  
               RLPV: From where does mind arise? Mind has to exist first then only it can encompass brain and other entities. You need to unpack encompassing processes: what precisely it means. If you assume, (i) mind existed or exists by itself, independent of matter, and then encompasses; then it appears to me idealism, (ii) mind-brain exists together for encompassing then it is dual-aspect model, (iii) if mind and brain exist on equal footing and then mind encompasses brain then it is dualism.
There is no brain-in-itself.  When we talk of “the brain” we mean our knowledge of brain structure and function (which originates and stays inside encompassing subject-inclusive mind-and-nature experience).  Thus the brain is in the mind, the mind (individual and collective subjective experience) cannot be explained or understood in terms of brain function .  
In an objective view, mental function (including SE) depends without question on brain function, and this objective dependency does not change in 0-D.  But from here it neither follows that subjectivity can become objective (as implied in the formulations of Augustine and of many others), nor that it should be discarded (as some exclusive-objectivists propose).  In each case objective thinking would attempt to remove its own starting basis: objectivity is a specialized instrument within encompassing SE, it is not the only (fundamental and universal) tool, nor can it be a mind-less one.  
To ask how the mind (SE) can be found in a fictitious postulated primary ontological (i.e., mind-free) reality is a non-starter.  
Phylogenetic and ontogenetic development of the human mind is a meaningful topic of objective studies (within primary SE) but cannot “explain” the encompassing aspect of SE.  Self and nature become knowledge of self and knowledge of nature, by means of the qualities and structures we originate.  
Examples of “right” questions are :  How do self-structures and knowledge including brain science originate in experience, and how do they relate to each other?  In which circumstances is it safe to use as-if-MIR tools in mind–brain studies, and when is it necessary to insist explicitly on phenomenology?  How do brain events, development, education, social factors affect SE?  How are events in SE reflected in brain function ? ”  
               RLPV: They are excellent questions, and their answers will reject, modify, or maintain constructivism-framework. Therefore, it is worth pursuing. I will be interested in collaboration because I think the PE-SE framework is complementary to the constructivism-framework.




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Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal
     e-mails: <rlpvimal@yahoo.co.in>, rvimal@mclean.harvard.edu
URLs: <http://www.geocities.com/rlpvimal/>, <http://www.geocities.com/vri98/>, <http://www.geocities.com/das00m/>


[1] Cortical midline structures (CMS) include MOFC (medial orbital prefrontal cortex: BA 11, 12), VMPFC (ventromedial prefrontal cortex: BA 10, 11), PACC (pre- and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex: BA 24, 25, 32), SACC (supragenual anterior cingulate cortex: BA 24, 32), DMPFC (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex: BA 9), MPC (medial parietal cortex: BA 7, 31), PCC (posterior cingulate cortex: BA 23), and RSC (retrosplenial cortex: BA 26, 29, 30) (Northoff et al., 2006). BA: Brodman areas. This first-person-perspective is consistent with (Newen & Vogeley, 2003) that reported involvement of medial cortical and parietal areas. For the construction of body image of subject (to which it is related) in the brain, somatosensory cortex, posterior parietal lobe, and insular cortex (its lesion or electrical stimulation leads to illusion of feelings of being outside one’s own body) are involved (Berlucchi & Aglioti, 1997; Melzack, 1992; Northoff, 2001).