The workshop will take place in a beautiful, cosy mountain cabin which offers all necessary luxuries (a bath, showers, a sauna - and even a toilet). However, we want to point out that a mountain cabin is not a hotel: Accommodation will be in dorms with bunk and double beds, there are no single rooms and bathrooms have to be shared. Also, internet may not be available and possibilities for privacy are very limited. No catering is provided - all participants will be involved in preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as in keeping the cabin clean. Rooms separated by gender can of course be made available. Please consider these pictures of the location to make sure you are comfortable with the sleeping arrangements. A shuttle will be provided to the nearest train station on the first and last day of the workshop.
Modelling Consciousness Workshop 2020
A workshop on formal approaches
to the mind-matter relation
This workshop brings together researchers who have a deep interest in questions related to the scientific study of consciousness as well as a background in formal research topics in order to discuss mathematical questions in the scientific study of consciousness and formal models of the mind-matter relation.
In contrast to typical conferences, the workshop centers on discussions in small groups which aim to bridge the gap between critical thinking and creative brainstorming. Each discussion session is dedicated to a specific question related the following topics. (Click for further details.)
Mathematical Structure of Models of Consciousness
Models of consciousness are hypotheses about how consciousness relates to the physical domain. Various different and competing models exist, for example Integrated Information Theory, Global Neuronal Workspace Theory, Predictive Processing Theory, Higher Order Thought Theory or Orchestrated Objective Reduction Theory. The workshop aims to discuss the mathematical structure of various proposals in order to illuminate similarities or contradictions between them. The hope is that mathematical rigor might help to clearly distinguish various models of consciousness, to find new ways of comparison and possibly to derive new predictions.
Mathematical Structure of Experience Space
Being hypotheses about consciousness and its relation to the physical domain, models of consciousness need to refer to both a formal description of a physical system and a formal description of experience. But what mathematical structure should the space of experience, or the space of states of experience, carry? How does mathematical structure relate to philosophical conceptions? How does it represent the phenomenology of experience?
Mathematical Frameworks for Models of Consciousness
In recent times, promising insights have emerged from the use of pure as well as applied mathematics in addressing the mind-matter relation. Methods coming from category theory, information theory, statistical physics, dynamical systems, logic and geometry have been particularly useful in this regard. What is the current status and what are the prospects of research in this direction? Which new vistas exist, and how do these relate to philosophical and conceptual insights?
Novel Ideas for Models of Consciousness
Only a few metaphysical positions on the mind-matter relation have been expressed in formal models of consciousness. This workshop provides space for the presentation and discussion of new ideas, even if preliminary, which could result in new models of consciousness.
Formalization of Experimental Constraints for Models of Consciousness
Numerous experiments have provided valuable constraints on the relation between experience and brain structure, and further promising experiments are being performed around the globe at present. The workshop intends to discuss which constraints and guiding principles these experiments give for formal models of consciousness.
Formalization of Philosophical Concepts and Insights
The field Scientific Study of Consciousness was ignited, above all, by philosophical insights, such as Thomas Nagel's famous analysis of the states of experience referenced by the term "What it is like to be...", and concepts such as the "hard problem" and the "explanatory gap". The workshop intends to discuss how these and other philosophical analyses, questions or insights relate to the mathematical structure of models of consciousness. Which constraints arise for model-building and how can the rich body of work in philosophy of mind be translated into mathematical language?
To lay the ground for these sessions, there will be talks given by the participants.
Place: Mountain Cabin, Dorfgastein, Austria
Workshop fee: 350 Euros (includes accommodation, shuttle to the cabin, all meals, and nonalcoholic beverages; financial support for both workshop fee and travel expenses is available**)
The deadline for applications is Friday, January 31, 2020 AoE. This workshop is supported by: