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Pragmatic Information, Intentionality & Consciousness

Jeffery J. Davis


It has been sixteen (16) years since Freeman and Nunez wrote their paper, “Restoring to Cognition the Forgotten Primacy of Action, Intention and Emotion” (Freeman & Nunez, 1999) where they rightfully warned us[1] about the limitations and dangers of cognitivism, neo-cognitivism, representationalism and the damage that a reductionist technocratic based science did, and would continue to do if it is left unchecked, to a more systemic approach geared to the understanding of mind, soul, intentionality and values based decision making with the potential for a better and more sound scientific paradigm of consciousness that includes the objective-subjective complementary pair grounded in biology, and particularly the neurobiology of a rich inner spiritual life conducive to inner peace, constructive creativity and intelligence, and social harmony. In this work we briefly explore some of the most innovative paradigms for the study of consciousness that in our view have been developed since 1999 with special emphasis in how the brain creates knowledge and meaning, something critical in human life for deciding courses of action which are spiritually, intellectually and emotionally important and meaningful to each of us. More importantly, this paper explores pragmatic information indices that serve the purpose, as hypothesized in works by Freeman (Freeman, 2008) and other authors (Davis & Kozma, 2013) (Davis, Gillett, & Kozma, 2015), in finding a plausible way to measure and quantify the creation of structure and order as observed in brain signals which are amplitude modulated, showing that the creation of knowledge and meaning requires energy consumption as a consequence of the interaction between the environment (the double, as Vitiello has called it) (Vitiello, 2001) and the brain which is regarded as an open thermodynamical system capable of breaking symmetry and creating coherent structures (Freeman & Vitiello, 2006).

[1] Even though I am the only author of this paper, I am writing in plural since I feel this paper comes as a collaborative effort of several people to whom I am very grateful and whom have been acknowledged properly in the acknowledgement section. 

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ISSN: 2153-8212