Communication Without Consciousness: The Theory of Brain-Sign

Philip Clapson

Abstract


Despite developments in neuroscience, consciousness is unidentified in the brain. Moreover there is no scientific definition of what it is or does. This paper proposes that consciousness is not a scientific category. However, by ‘postulating’ consciousness as self-explanation, the brain can communicate with other brains in collective action. But the brain can generate a more plausible self-description as brain-sign. There are two foundational tenets. (1) Brain-sign arises from the brain’s interpretation of its causal orientation towards the world at each moment, and is ‘apparent’ as the world; and (2) It facilitates communication between brains about the world in collective action which is uncertain or imprecise. It is therefore grounded in the brain’s bio-physical operation. Signs are ubiquitous bio-physical states, but they are not causal for the hosting organism. The paper contrasts brain-sign with consciousness both as theory, and in empirical findings. Brain-sign is the source of all theories, including itself.

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