The Consciousness Chronicles

Check out Nick Day’s documentary recorded at the annual Toward a Science of Consciousness conference.


Can science ever explain consciousness?

Anil Seth, Chris Frith and Barry Smith (of Birkbeck, not Buffalo!) outline the topography in a podcast.


Views of Hayek, Hebb, and Heisenberg: Toward an Approach to Brain Functioning

Neuroscientist Erol Basar on Hayek

F. A. Hayek’s The Sensory Order must rate as one of the most creative books written on general philosophy of neuroscience. Although Hayek was a Noble-prize winner in economics and was not educated as a neuroscientist, his book opens up a new window on neuroscience, and this window certainly offers great possibilities to neuroscientists working on unifying aspects of neuroscience. Guided by the fundamental view of Fuster (1995), I have tried to suggestively interpret Hayek’s concepts firstly as a work on memory and brain dynamics (Basar, 2004), and more recently, as a more general work on the brain–body–mind relationship (Basar, 2010). Although a detailed description and interpretation of Hayek’s philosophical psychology is not possible because of space constraints, I try to explain three concepts that are embedded in the work of Hayek:

1. D. O. Hebb’s learning theory (1949),

2. The S-Matrix concept of quantum dynamics developed by W. Heisenberg (1943), and

3. The Feynman diagrams as a consequence of the S-Matrix theory.



Here’s a recent WSJ article summing up the state of play in mapping brain connectivity. Here is Susan Bookheimer who holds the Joaquin Fuster Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience chair at UCLA – Fuster is off course a name many readers will recognise from my postings here and here. The images are from the Human Connectome Project.

“The study of connectivity is as hot as hot can get,” said Susan Bookheimer, a neuropsychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who is the new head of the Organization of Human Brain Mapping, a large international professional society of neuroimaging researchers.


Patricia Churchland

Having missed Pat Churchland’s talk at NEI this past October, it was great that she was in town for a full week of speaking engagements not to mention interviews and other demands being made on her time (and she is supposedly retired!). It was a pleasure to meet her (finally!) having followed her work over the years, most notably her Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain. I recall the outright hostility to this book when I very naively talked about it in a philosophy department.  I asked her if she recalled this hostility – and she did – but soldiered on regardless. The book obviously made an impression on me and hence its title appears as the tag line to this website.

Here is a collection of my Churchland related posts. The Science Network has a superb collection of podcasts featuring not only Pat, but the rest of the Churchland “dynasty” including of course her husband Paul and  their children Anne and Mark.


Music of the Hemispheres

Check out philosopher Dan Lloyd’s film project. On the film site there are several videos of different brain states worth watching. Dan is, of course, no stranger to using other modalities to communicate his thoughts on consciousness – his book Radiant Cool is a classic in the genre.

Inside each of us, at every moment, a symphony plays. It’s the symphony of consciousness, but at the same time it’s the symphony of the brain.
– Dan Lloyd