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Identifying Mental States From Neural States Under Mental Constraints

H. Atmanspacher
Published 2011 · Computer Science, Medicine

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This article emphasizes how the recently proposed interlevel relation of contextual emergence for scientific descriptions combines ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ kinds of influence. As emergent behaviour arises from features pertaining to lower level descriptions, there is a clear bottom-up component. But, in general, this is not sufficient to formulate interlevel relations stringently. Higher level contextual constraints are needed to equip the lower level description with those details appropriate for the desired higher level description to emerge. These contextual constraints yield some kind of ‘downward confinement’, a term that avoids the sometimes misleading notion of ‘downward causation’. This will be illustrated for the example of relations between (lower level) neural states and (higher level) mental states.
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