Paris Mathematical Models of Consciousness

Scope

The scope of the seminar encompasses mathematical and computational models of consciousness.

Sessions

  1. Date: September 29, 2023
    Time: 4:00 PM (UTC+2)
    Topic: Mathematical Aspects of Integrated Information Theory (IIT)
    Where: Olga Ladyjenska├»a room, Institut Henri Poincar├ę, 11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005

Organizers

  • Gregoire Sergeant-Perthuis (Sorbonne Universite)
  • Computational Phenomenology: Context and State-of-the-Art

    The pursuit of a comprehensive theory of consciousness is a central focus in cognitive science, holding the potential to address essential questions in psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Numerous theories have emerged, but no consensus exists on the most promising contender. While much research has centered on identifying the neural correlates of consciousness, it is essential not to limit the study of consciousness to the study of its neural underpinning. Investigating its underlying principles and mechanisms independently of its neural implementation can provide a foundation for more quantitative and model-based research, potentially overcome methodological challenges associated with neural models and neuroscience research more generally, and offer a valuable starting point for a mathematical theory of consciousness.

    Such investigations can begin from properties typically ascribed to consciousness on the basis of introspection: it integrates diverse cognitive and sensory functions and processes to enable coherent cognition, facilitate learning, and generate resilient behaviors, essentially playing a cybernetic role for adaptive systems.

    Two prominent models currently dominate consciousness studies. Integrated Information Theory (IIT) defines consciousness as the dynamic interactions between a system's parts that maximize an information quantity (measured as "Phi)" that cannot be reduced to the information contained in such parts. IIT faces important challenges regarding construct validity, the specificity of its predictions, and its operationalization for empirical research. The Global Workspace Theory (GWT) defines consciousness as an integrative workspace with limited capacity for decision-making, information processing, and simulation. GWT lacks mathematical models that comprehensively capture the functions and interactions it ascribes to consciousness, hindering its operationalization for simulations and empirical research.

    For this reason, it is essential to stay updated on novel findings and emerging computational frameworks related to consciousness. This is precisely what the Paris Mathematical Models of Consciousness aims to achieve, serving as a regular meeting place for consciousness researchers.