I want to offer some ideas for discussion that can help explain the functioning of the brain and cognition.
Unfortunately, I do not speak English and am forced to use a Google translator. I apologize for possible grammatical errors.
To begin, I’ll propose the most important idea. It can be formulated as follows:
To understand the work of the brain, it is necessary to abandon the illusion that reality consists of objects that are independent of the observer’s brain and are the same for all observers.
Kant called such objects “things in themselves.” Thus, this idea states:
Reality does not consist of “things in itself” that are independent of the observer’s consciousness and the same for all observers.
This idea is very important, since most theories that try to explain cognition, explicitly or implicitly use the assertion that the objects of reality are independent of the observer’s consciousness as a postulate. That is, most theories of knowledge are based on a false statement. This is one of the main reasons for the existence of contradictions in such theories.
For example, the HBP project’s Understanding Cognition task description says, “How does the brain create a representation of an object, like an apple, from multisensory information?”. Obviously, here it is implicitly implied that the apple exists independently of the person, and the person creates an idea of the apple only on the basis of information from his senses.
The fact of such a statement of the problem indicates that HBP has not yet been able to create a scientific theory of cognition of reality.
In fact, the idea of the independence of reality objects from the consciousness of the observer is erroneous and it is one of the main obstacles to a correct understanding of the brain. There are several other similar obstacles that I will say later if this discussion is successful.
The idea that objects of reality are independent of the brain is an illusion. This is easy to see if you try to mentally separate any object from the rest of reality. Anyone who has studied physics will agree that this is impossible. Any boundaries that can be specified are conditional and depend on the consciousness (brain) of the observer.
The facts of physics indicate that reality is one and it is impossible to unequivocally divide it into objects. The observer is a part of reality, constantly interacts with the rest of the reality and it is also impossible to unambiguously distinguish it from all reality. The observer consists of the same elementary particles and fields as the rest of the reality and obeys the laws of interaction, the same for all reality.
It is thanks to the unity of the observer with reality and its interaction with reality that cognition of reality by the observer is possible.
Due to the unity of the observer with reality, the observer is an image of reality and is itself a knowledge of reality. And cognition of reality by an observer is a change in the structure of an observer, reflecting changes in surrounding reality. Cognition of reality is the adaptation of a living organism to changes in surrounding reality.
Why do we perceive reality as consisting of separate objects?
The reason is the structure of our body and brain.
In fact, the body structure of the observer, including the structure of his brain, defines a unique division of a single reality into separate objects. In particular, the structure of the observer’s sense organs provides a subjective division of reality into separate objects. The brain can be considered as a universal sense organ.
Since the body of the observer is constantly changing, the division of reality into objects is unique for each moment in time.
For different people, the division of reality into objects is similar because the structures of their bodies are similar, but these partitions are different, because the structures of people’s bodies and their life experiences are unique.
It is easy to see that people with pathology of the sense organs, as well as animals with a different structure of the body and sense organs, have a separation of reality into objects, which is significantly different from the division of a normal healthy person.
Here is a brief description of how a person perceives reality and divides the world into separate objects.
People perceive reality through sensations.
Sensation is the subjective experience by the observer of the excitation (activation) of a certain specific neural structure.
It can be assumed that each specific sensation of the observer can be associated with a certain neural structure. The proof of this statement can be the phenomenon of “mirror neurons”.
Thus, it can be argued that each observer has a limited finite set of neural structures and a set of sensations corresponding to these neural structures.
Neural structures are excited (activated) if they interact with certain manifestations of reality. For example, neural structures associated with the eye are activated by interacting with various combinations of electromagnetic radiation reaching the retina of the eye. Structures associated with the taste organ are activated by interaction with various combinations of chemicals.
D. Hubel and T. Wiezel have shown that the brain creates specific neural structures to recognize various combinations of light reaching the retina.
The set of all manifestations of reality that can interact with a specific brain structure together form some part of reality. All elements of this part of reality can cause the excitation of this particular brain structure and are indistinguishable for a given observer.
For example, all manifestations of electromagnetic radiation with the wavelength of green are indistinguishable to the observer, since they activate the same neural structure. All such manifestations of reality together form part of reality, which we denote by the words “green color”.
From the point of view of set theory, this part of reality is a set, the elements of which are individual manifestations of reality.
The words “green color”, which are the designation of this part of reality, in logic are called the concept and sign of the concept, and this very part of reality is called the volume of the concept.
That is, the set of all manifestations of reality that can cause the sensation of “green color” is the volume of the concept of “green color”.
If for each sensation of the observer we establish a correspondence with a part of reality that can cause this sensation, then we will establish a correspondence between the structures of the brain and parts of reality.
Let us define the concept of “object of reality”.
An object of reality corresponding to some specific sensation of the observer is a part of reality that can cause this sensation.
Thus, the object of reality is a part of reality that can cause the excitation (activation) of some neural structure of the brain. For example, the reality object “green” is the set of all manifestations of reality that can cause the sensation of “green color” and, accordingly, cause activation of the corresponding brain structures.
Thus, the brain does not recognize objects independent of it, analyzing the “multisensory information” coming to it, since such objects independent of the brain do not exist.
The brain itself divides reality into objects in accordance with the images (neural structures) that it formed as a result of life experience (interaction with reality).
Recognizing the objects of reality, the brain simply senses them. Object recognition takes the form of excitation (activation) of the corresponding brain structures.
Each object of reality is a set of separate manifestations of reality and is perceived by people as a property of reality. More general objects (properties of reality) contain less general ones as subsets.
The concepts of language are the designations of our sensations, and through sensations they are the designations of the corresponding objects of reality (properties of reality).
Reality objects (properties of reality) form a hierarchy of sets, in which more general objects (properties of reality) contain less general ones as subsets. The most common property of reality is all reality, and the smallest sets are individual unique objects.
Each object (property) of reality is the intersection of all its properties (in the sense of set theory).
This statement is very important for understanding the structure of reality and methods of cognition of reality. It is one of the fundamental statements of the theory of knowledge.
The body of a newborn person is his innate knowledge of reality. In particular, the brain structures of the newborn are part of this knowledge.
Inborn knowledge provides the ability to recognize the most common properties of reality (objects of reality). As a result of life experience (interaction with reality), the brain constructs more complex structures from congenital neural structures. Such “more complex structures" make it possible to recognize less general properties of reality and individual objects.
Further developing this theory, one can explain how human cognition works. In particular, how a person creates a representations of objects of reality, how conceptual knowledge is organized, why logic works, why mathematics is effective, what understanding, intuition, and much more are.
Such a theory has already been created and published. Read more here:
The text of the Theory of Relativity of Cognition can be downloaded here: https://yadi.sk/i/cHA8BRAjbKn2pA
I would be grateful for feedback on these ideas.