Fuzzy consciousness

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This chapter explores the consequences of treating consciousness as a fuzzy dynamical system. A fuzzy dynamical system is one in which labeled concepts and percepts are altered as a function of context and conditions, and these changes occur continuously in time. We offer speculations on the groundwork for a consciousness state space in which the sets of trajectories over time form tube-like structures called cylinder sets. Consciousness is a trajectory within this structure, and it passes by or through those fuzzy concepts. When the trajectory of a mental event travels close to a particular concept or percept, one experiences awareness of that concept or percept. As these constrained pathways in mental state space become more heavily traveled, they develop increased density (or attraction strength) in their central threads, and more and more nearby trajectories get captured by that cylinder. At the same time, these tubes slowly gravitate toward short cuts in the state space over the lifespan, thus gradually straightening out and skipping past intermediating concepts that used to get visited as part of the sequence. The fringes of these concepts become a part of conscious experience, and for everyday coping, do not need to be recruited for explicit awareness. The formation and streamlining of cylinder sets over the course of learning may have the paradoxical result. of producing an increase in tacit conscious experience (of “being in time”) and a decrease in explicit awareness (of this or that labeled concept).


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