Science

The Mental Database

Posted 25 Dec 2005 at 05:41 UTC by steve Share This

How does the brain convey data between the mind and the body? How and where does the brain store the structured data used by the mind and by consciousness? Ken Brown proposes a possible answer to these questions in a new paper, The Mental Database (PDF format). Brown claims that "at present science has been unable to find any visible form of mental data in the material world as it currently defined by science". To solve the problem, he makes comparisons between the capabilities of the mind and those of a common relational database. He also proposes that current biophysical scanning methods are able to reveal only brain activity that transfers data to and from the mind but not the mental data within the mind itself. Why? Because he believes the mind is not part of the physical world. Brown's ideas are heavily influenced by the dualism of AI-opponent Penrose in which consciousness requires that the material brain must have an otherworldly component (e.g. soul, quantum noise, or whatever.) that can't be reproduced in non-meat-based hardware. In particular Brown, like Penrose, denies that any form of Turing machine can be conscious. Despite the Penrosian slant, it's still an interesting read.

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