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Intrinsic Contextuality as the Crux of Consciousness Aerts D., Broekaert J., Gabora L.

Summary: Intrinsic Contextuality as the Crux of Consciousness
Aerts D., Broekaert J., Gabora L.
Center Leo Apostel, Brussels Free University,
Krijgskundestraat 33, 1160 Brussels, Belgium
lgabora@vub.ac.be, diraerts@vub.ac.be, jbroekae@vub.ac.be
1. The Contextuality of Conscious Experience
A stream of conscious experience is extremely contextual; it is impacted by sensory stimuli, drives and
emotions, and the web of associations that link, directly or indirectly, the subject of experience to
other elements of the individual's worldview. The contextuality of one's conscious experience both
enhances and constrains the contextuality of one's behavior. Since we cannot know first-hand the
conscious experience of another, it is by way of behavioral contextuality that we make judgements
about whether or not, and to what extent, a system is conscious. Thus we believe that a deep
understanding of contextuality is vital to the study of consciousness.
Methods have been developed for handling contextuality in the microworld of quantum
particles. Our goal has been to investigate the extent to which these methods can be used to analyze
contextuality in conscious experience. This work is the fledgling efforts of a recently-initiated
interdisciplinary collaboration.
2. Physical and Conceptual Closure Enable Contextuality
Most hold to the intuition that inorganic substances are not conscious; that there is nothing it is like to


Source: Aerts, Diederik - Leo Apostel Centre, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Collections: Multidisciplinary Databases and Resources; Physics