Adam I. Gerard

Propositional Propagation

Just some quick thoughts about the following:

  1. Thinking about the nature of "competitive neuron propagation" (crassly put, e.g. - something like Minsky's Democracy of Mind - that multiple neural networks within our brain propagate outward until one prevails through neuron weights/connections and randomization.)
  2. Eigenvalues and the Wave Function.
  3. Kit Fine's Specification Spaces - my handout gives a succinct definition here: "Simple Supervaluation Theory".
  4. The phenomenology of thought - specifically, if it is true that we have multiple competing thought-pathways why is it that we have a singular unified experience of thought (e.g. - something like one thought at a time - occasionally people think in parallel or asynchronously but typically one thought at a time seems to be the norm)?
  5. Is there some kind of weight-free approach to the above? (I haven't researched this in-depth at all - just a curiosity below.) This might align a bit more with a "mentalistic" starting point (rather than a neuron one - noting that I don't see those as in tension whatsoever).

Sketch of an Edifice

Given the following:

  1. A not-necessarily mutually-exclusive set or deduplicated array (whichever you prefer): [x, y, z, ...] of propositions or sets of propositions (theories).
  2. We could add the typical edifice of mutually exclusive events to resolve the probability space for each x in the above where they are known beforehand. This helps calculate something like the most optimal utility selection (rational choice).
  3. A class of structures S.


  1. The propositions or theories that satisfy the most number of structures in S (that have the most models in S).
  2. We can then obtain the probability (going in the opposite direction) and apply Bayesian calculations after the fact.
  3. We can also determine what is in fact mutually exclusive.

Here we arrive at a totally defined probability space afterward through a simple calculation of the number of satisfying models.

Perhaps something like the unity of conscious experience derives from selecting:

  1. The topmost propositions (by model satisfaction).
  2. Along with some other constraints like most maximally semantically expressive (akin to a double-sort). The theory that covers the most semantic ground relative to the others in the set (or deduplicated array).
  3. And, so, a top or sorting operation.

A lingering question in the philosophy of mind concerns whether or not mental states themselves have independent "casual" (or something ontologically weaker or less offending - there are clearly some kinds of temporal sequences governed by mechanical processes in physics) power - can a thought trigger further brain processing or is it all just brain states?

I doubt the above would account for every single brain or mental event, but if mental states have some (perhaps very limited) "casual" power (or something ontologically weaker or less ontological odious) perhaps it might explain (or just describe) the scenario of a deliberate weight assignment to events. Perhaps, being part of the "mechanics" of reflective equilibrium (which I take to be one of the best operationalizations of 'wisdom' - the closest to a scientific description of the concept of 'wisdom').

Brain Functions

If something like the above is true as a technique or description of some mental process, I wonder if there'd be a biological basis for it. (We began from a slightly mentalistic approach but may end up taking a thoroughly biological/neuronal route.)

It's well-known that different so-called "brain modules" (and brain cell kinds) specialize in handling certain tasks: mirror neurons, prefrontal cortex, limbic system, etc. Suppose there's a part of the brain that helps integrate deeply fragmented information.

Would that help to provide (in part or whole) a (truly) mechanistic and biological basis for wisdom?

Also, the direct relationship between thoughts (expressed as or by propositions) and the brain is not yet quite known. Neurologists have partially identified where memories, emotions, and words reside but nothing like the content of a complex proposition (or a complete theory).