Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Mark Solms demystifies Chalmers' "Hard Problem" of Consciousness.

Dr. Mark Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness


Chance favors a prepared mind - and after nearly a year of dealing with “The Case Against Reality,” which, for me, was a collection of maddeningly dreamy philosophizing*; disconnected from physical reality; and dismissive of the known facts and Evolution, which are central to my understanding of reality.  *(on the other hand)


Learning is about providing us with tools and concepts we can work with as building blocks towards further developing our overall conceptions.  But Hoffman’s FBT theorem and ITP inspired “conscious agents,” was like a bad practical joke, offering little but frustration, luftgeschäft, irrelevance - no place to go with it once it's done.

As if on cue, YouTube prompted me with a suggestion that I might like this newly released talk:  "The Source of Consciousness - with Dr. Mark Solms" posted March 4th and they weren’t kidding.  Dr. Solms provides a way back to the solid ground of physical reality and serious science.

Among the speaker’s achievements, beyond being skilled as both psychoanalyst, plus neuropsychologist!  Dr. Solms is the Director of neuropsychology in the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Cape Town, an honorary lecturer in neurosurgery at the Royal London Hospital School of Medicine, and a pioneer in the scientific field of neuropsychoanalysis, being credited as first to use that term, along with being the recipient of many honors and awards.  He’s also credited with discovering and described the forebrain mechanisms of dreaming.

After I finished that first lecture, I had to listen to another one, then another, and another, two days worth of binging on Dr. Solms ensued before I was sated,... for the time being.  


Solms is an enthralling speaker and his ideas resonate with my own life time of learning about natural sciences and this body I inhabit, I couldn’t get enough of him explaining his findings and their implications and I intend to read a couple of his books plus listen to some of those talks again.  Lots to absorb.  

All that inspired me to put together this collection of lectures given by Dr. Mark Solms PhD, I'll be following up with another post highlighting a few of his many scientific papers.  

It makes a perfect transition between Hoffman's philosophizing and my own upcoming philosophizing.  Whereas I can only offer reasoning behind the perspective I believe in, Solms provides us with scientific physical evidence and clear cut justifications that are harmonious with my perspective and trust in science.

Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness, thus taking the air out of the wavy gravy meta-physical approaches to consciousness that removes it from fundamental evolutionary processes and physical reality as we know it.  It’s no wonder Hoffman never mentions Solms name, nor the promise of neuropsychoanalysis.

Among the points that resonated with my own understanding, 

was Solms explaining that the way we frame our questions, constrains what they can reveal to us.

Solms explains why studying visual perception and optical illusions offer little for constructively understanding consciousness.

Though he doesn’t explicitly discuss Evolution, Solms does trace the roots of consciousness to within our primal brainstem, what used to be called our ‘reptilian brain.’  This clearly places the development of consciousness way back in the dawn of creature development, with change over time driving creature Evolution, and human consciousness being part of a continuum.

Mark Solms makes consciousness accessible to understanding through the physicalist paradigm by breaking down the problem into the following categories.

    1. The functionalist problem of consciousness
    2. Consciousness is not a cognitive function
    3. Consciousness is an affective function
    4. Affect is a homeostatic function
    5. The function of mechanism of consciousness  

Regarding vision studies, from “NERV: Mark Solms - A New Approach to the Hard Problem of Consciousness”:


(1) It is unfortunate that cognitive science took vision as its model example when looking for a ‘neural correlate of consciousness’ because cortical vision (like most cognitive processes) is not intrinsically conscious. There is not necessarily ‘something it is like’ to see.


(2) Affective feeling, by contrast, is conscious by definition. You cannot feel something without feeling it. Moreover, affective feeling, generated in the upper brainstem, is the foundational form of consciousness: prerequisite for all the higher cognitive forms.


(3) The functional mechanism of feeling explains why and how it cannot go on ‘in the dark’, free of any inner feel. Affect enables the organism to monitor deviations from its expected self-states in uncertain situations and thereby frees homeostasis from the limitations of automatism.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Source of Consciousness - with Mark Solms

The Royal Institution- March 4, 2021 - 1:04:01 minutes


Mark Solms discusses his new theory of consciousness that returns emotions to the centre of mental life.

Mark's book "The Hidden Spring" is available now: https://geni.us/CWaA

Watch the Q&A: https://youtu.be/gmOzBePcRg4

Understanding why we feel a subjective sense of self and how it arises in the brain seems like an impossible task. Mark explores the subjective experiences of hundreds of neurological patients, many of whom he treated. Their uncanny conversations help to expose the brain’s obscure reaches.

Mark Solms has spent his entire career investigating the mysteries of consciousness. 

Best known for identifying the brain mechanisms of dreaming and for bringing psychoanalytic insights into modern neuroscience, he is director of neuropsychology in the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Cape Town, honorary lecturer in neurosurgery at the Royal London Hospital School of Medicine, and an honorary fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


NERV: Mark Solms - A New Approach to the Hard Problem of Consciousness



July 29, 2020 - NERV Online - 1:30:22 minutes


David Chalmers’s (1995) hard problem famously states: “It is widely agreed that experience arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises.” 

Thomas Nagel (1974) wrote something similar: “If we acknowledge that a physical theory of mind must account for the subjective character of experience, we must admit that no presently available conception gives us a clue about how this could be done.” 

This presentation will point the way towards the long-sought “good explanation” -- or at least it will provide “a clue”. 

Prof Solms will make three points:


(1) It is unfortunate that cognitive science took vision as its model example when looking for a ‘neural correlate of consciousness’ because cortical vision (like most cognitive processes) is not intrinsically conscious. There is not necessarily ‘something it is like’ to see.


(2) Affective feeling, by contrast, is conscious by definition. You cannot feel something without feeling it. Moreover, affective feeling, generated in the upper brainstem, is the foundational form of consciousness: prerequisite for all the higher cognitive forms.


(3) The functional mechanism of feeling explains why and how it cannot go on ‘in the dark’, free of any inner feel. Affect enables the organism to monitor deviations from its expected self-states in uncertain situations and thereby frees homeostasis from the limitations of automatism. 


As Nagel says, “An organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism—something it is like for the organism.” 

Affect literally constitutes the sentient subject.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Mark Solms - The hard question of consciousness


January 8, 2020 - UCT Summer School - 1:00:33 minutes


The ‘hard problem’ of consciousness is the Holy Grail of modern neuroscience. How do physiological brain processes become subjective experiences? 

My approach to the problem revolves around a shift of focus from the complex experiences of human beings to much simpler forms which we share with all vertebrates. This requires a shift away from the cerebral cortex, the traditional ‘seat’ of consciousness, to the evolutionarily ancient brainstem.

Professor Mark Solms is best known for his discovery of the forebrain mechanisms of dreaming, and his pioneering integration of psychoanalysis and neuroscience.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"What is the Unconscious and Where is It Located in the Brain?"  -  Professor Mark Solms


2019 Wallerstein Lecture - Part I

2:10:09 minutes

2019 Wallerstein Lecture - Part II

1:07:56 minutes


July 9, 2019 - UCSF Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


South African psychoanalyst and neuropsychologist Mark Solms, PhD, delivers his keynote address at the 2019 Robert S. Wallerstein, MD, Visiting Lecture in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, titled, "What is the Unconscious and Where is It Located in the Brain?" (March 27, 2019)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Why and How Consciousness Arises


February 15, 2019 - Icahn School of Medicine - 47:49 minutes


At our Feb. 5 Grand Rounds, Mark Solms, PhD, of the University of Cape Town, presented on how the metaphysical experience of consciousness relates to the physical brain—and why psychiatrists should care.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Mark Solms, PhD: The Animal Within Us


October 28, 2015 - St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute/The Schiele Clinic - 2:07:00 minutes


Dr. Mark Solms shares his understanding of human motivation, and his rethinking of historical concepts of the mind using modern neuroscience.  The Lecture gives insights regarding the implications for clinical work of the changing views regarding instinctual motivation. Presented on March 4, 2015 by the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute.

Dr. Mark Solms shares his understanding of human motivation, and his rethinking of historical concepts of the mind using modern neuroscience.  The Lecture gives insights regarding the implications for clinical work of the changing views regarding instinctual motivation.

Mark Solms, PhD is a psychoanalyst and a lecturer in neurosurgery at the St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Royal London School of Medicine, Chair of neuropsychology, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Director of the Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuro-Psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.  

Dr. Solms is known for his work in linking the clinical findings of psychoanalysis with knowledge generated by the neurological sciences, and is reportedly the first to have coined the phrase neuropsychoanalysis.  Widely published in technical scientific journals as well as popular magazines such as Scientific American, Dr. Solms has also published five books.  His latest, The Brain and the Inner World, is a best seller, translated into 13 languages.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


'Does One Size Fit All? by Prof Mark Solms, Part 1

June 26, 2018 - Therapy Route - 59:58 minutes


Mark Solms Does One Size Fit All Part 2

June 26, 2018 - Therapy Route - 1:34:35 minutes


Mark Solms Does One Size Fit All 2008 Disk 3

December 3, 2018 - Therapy Route - 1:38:40 minutes


Should psychodynamic psychotherapists and psychoanalysts apply the same technique to all patients? 


Although all patients seek out our help because they are suffering, not all psychological suffering is of the same kind and not all people are the same.


Watch Prof Mark Solms deliver an exceptionally accessible integration of the psychoanalytic model of the mind, its relation to psychoanalytic diagnostic categories, and the implications of these for treatment and technique.  


I can confidently say that watching, and grasping, these three video's will render you a better therapist.


Thank you to Mark Solms and the South African Psychoanalytical Association for both producing and sharing this fantastic material.

Therapy Route


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Prof Mark Solms: Psychoanalysis and Brain Science

June 5, 2015 - KTH Media Production - 21:38 minutes




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Neuro-Psychoanalysis - Where Mind Meets Brain


אוניברסיטת חיפה - University of Haifa - 29:15 minutes


Prof. Yoram Yovell and Prof. Mark Solms discuss the newly emerging field of Neuro-Psychoanalysis: what it is and how it can help us understand the human mind 

14/11/2007


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Mark Solms NeuroPsychoanalysis 2009 Session 1

1:41:15 minutes - Therapy Route

Mark Solms NeuroPsychoanalysis 2009 Session 2

1:24:35 minutes - Therapy Route

Mark Solms Neuropsychoanalysis 2009 Session 3

1:17:10 minutes - Therapy Route


Prof Mark Solms introduces neuropsychoanalysis to a group of experienced psychoanalytic clinicians.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Neural Mechanisms of Dreaming, Prof. Mark Solms

July 30, 2019 | Wits NeuRL | YouTube | 1 hour


As part of The Brain Matters Seminar Series, Prof. Mark Solms speaks about the Neural Mechanisms of Dreaming in Seminar 3.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


ThriftBooks.com/a/mark-solms/374545/


Popular Books by Dr. Mark Solms PhD.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


No comments:

Post a Comment