Encephalon

The first edition of the new neuroscience carnival Encephalon is now up at The Neurophilosopher's Blog, here. There are several good posts, and I actually learned a bit from some of them.

I have to admit, though, that I'm particularly partial to this post from BrainTechSci. A sample:

It is hard not to notice the fact that an unusually high percentage of Nobel laureates, from Gerald Edelman to Francis Crick turn their attention to the problem of consciousness and formulate embarrassingly ridiculous theories of consciousness. Why is that?

Then there are people who are completely outside the field of neuroscience who propose ridiculous theories of consciousness. For example, Roger Penrose, a well-known mathematician who invented "twistor theory", has been very vocal about his theory that consciousness is really a Bose-Einstein condensate in microtubules. Seriously, this is the peak of absurdity, but it's hard to appreciate this unless you have a biological, and better yet, a neurobiological, background and understand what a Bose-Einstein condensate is.

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I'm not a fan of Penrose's philosophy of mind, but I think that misrepresents it a bit. Isn't his claim that mind is an emergent phenomena that includes at a fundamental level the physics of phenomena isomorphic to bose-einstein condesates? I'll confess it's been an awfully long time since I read The Emperor's New Mind. But I distinctly recall him having a fairly subtle position.

You know, it's been a while since I read it, too. About a decade, in fact. I'm sure the theory was more subtle than the post implies, but I do remember that it was pretty out there, as are many other theories of consciousness. To date, the best meta-theory that I've come across is Damasio's, but his details are a bit out there too.