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Mind and brain operationsCommentary on “Natural world physical, brain operational, and mind phenomenal space–time” by Andrew A. Fingelkurts, Alexander A. Fingelkurts and Carlos F.H. Neves

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Mind and brain operationsCommentary on “Natural world physical, brain operational, and mind phenomenal space–time” by Andrew A. Fingelkurts, Alexander A. Fingelkurts and Carlos F.H. Neves
  Physics of Life Reviews 7 (2010) 254– Comment Mind and brain operationsCommentary on “Natural world physical, brain operational, andmind phenomenal space–time” by Andrew A. Fingelkurts,Alexander A. Fingelkurts and Carlos F.H. Neves Giorgio Marchetti  Mind, Consciousness, and Language 1  Research Net, via Guido Rossa 8, Pozzo d’Adda MI, Italy Received 8 March 2010; accepted 28 April 2010Available online 5 May 2010Communicated by L. Perlovsky Mental phenomena – conscious experiences, unconscious processes, memory, thought, perception, etc. – are notmere copies of the external world, but are the product of the person’s activity. As such they cannot be described usingsolely the vocabulary of the physical or other natural sciences [1]. What is needed in order to adequately describe mental phenomena is a dedicated vocabulary that describes mind in terms of its functions. Such a vocabulary isnecessarily centered on the notion of mental operation [2,3].Fingelkurts et al. [4] fully acknowledge the importance that the notion of operation has in general for the stud-ies of mental phenomena and in particular for bridging the gap between brain and mind. In fact, this notion allowsresearchers: to link the mental activity performed by the person when experiencing conscious phenomena with thephysical brain underlying this activity; to correlate mental and brain activity at various levels of complexity [5]; toprovide neuropsychological research with a theoretical framework capable of guiding its investigations in a reasonedand methodical way [6]; to account for the unique feature of consciousness of being something continuous and coher- ent and, at the same time, made of states of mind each of which is unique, different from the others, and characterizedby its own qualities [7].Moreover, Fingelkurts et al. [4]:a) sketch a very plausible hierarchy of brain–mind operations: from elemental physical operation, to elemental cog-nitive operations, to more complex macro-operations, to integrated phenomenal experiences;b) clearly show how it is possible to fully exploit the potentialities offered by the notion of operation using theEEG: in fact, the EEG can capture both the hierarchical nature and the polyphonic character of mental and brainactivities;c) characterize the notion of operation prevalently in spatio-temporal terms (and the related concepts, such as “3Dcoordinated system”, “centeredness”, “phenomenal present”, etc.). This characterization captures an important DOI of srcinal article: 10.1016/j.plrev.2010.04.001.  E-mail address: 1$ – see front matter  © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2010.04.007  G. Marchetti / Physics of Life Reviews 7 (2010) 254–255  255 and constant property of conscious experiences, and offers an interesting way of relating conscious experiencesto brain operations.As regards the spatio-temporal characterization of the notion of operation, I think that it should be added thatit alone is not sufficient to fully account for the qualitative and quantitative richness and complexity of consciousexperiences. Indeed, a “phenomenal present” moment can be filled with either a very elemental experience such asthe sensation of “red”, or with a complex one such as the mathematical concept of “derivative”. This variability of conscious experiences results from the combination of various and different mental operations (amongst which theones of attention plays a key role in my view).Therefore, in order to identify the neurophysiological pattern underlying conscious experiences, it is equally im-portant to try to identify firstly the set of elemental mental operations that are common to all conscious experiences,and secondly the specific sequence or combination of elemental mental operations that constitutes the single consciousexperience [8,9]. References [1] Pylyshyn ZW. Computation and cognition. Toward a foundation for cognitive science. Cambridge: The MIT Press; 1984.[2] Ceccato S. La mente vista da un cibernetico. Torino: ERI; 1972.[3] Marchetti G. The mechanics of the mind. Roma: Espansione; 1993.[4] Fingelkurts AnA, Fingelkurts AlA, Neves CFH. Natural world physical, brain operational, and mind phenomenal space–time. Physics of LifeReviews 2010;7(2):195–249, this issue.[5] Benedetti G, Marchetti G, Fingelkurts AlA, Fingelkurts AnA. Mind operational Semantics and brain operational architectonics: A putativecorrespondence. The Open Neuroimaging Journal, in press.[6] Ceccato S. Intervento di Silvio Ceccato. In: Linguiti GL, editor. Macchine e Pensiero. Da Wiener Alla Terza Cibernetica. Milano: Feltrinelli;1980. p. 134–7.[7] James W. The principles of psychology. New York: Holt; 1890.[8] Benedetti G. The meaning of the basic elements of language in terms of cognitive operations: Operational semantics. Advanced Studies inBiology 2009;6:255–305.[9] Marchetti G. Consciousness, attention and meaning. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers Inc., in press.
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