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I have been thinking for several years that maybe the mind could be described as a space, in the mathematical sense, of information and that similarly to the relativistic case of the spacetime whose geometry is determined by its content in mass-energy, the informational content of the mind could determine its structure. This would be a generalization of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis with general informational content and not only language shaping the topology/ geometry of the "informational space" I think the mind must be.

Have similar considerations been published in psychology literature so far?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you might have to be more specific about what the "structure of the mind" means. Otherwise maybe you are describing materialism? $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Aug 29 '19 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ Structure as a mathematical space $\endgroup$ – Sylvain JULIEN Aug 29 '19 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ Something like a Hilbert space made of state vectors as in Quantum physics endowed with a metric depending on those vectors. Here the key idea is the analogy with general relativity, that spacetime geometry in some sense is the distribution of mass-energy in it. $\endgroup$ – Sylvain JULIEN Aug 29 '19 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ This theory “The Basic Theory of the Mind” (not theory of mind, TOM, which refers to other minds) has fairly similar concepts to yours. It asserts that the mind is the composite of information-processing processes of the brain and that its important phenomena such as qualia and consciousness are information in special forms. It hasn’t been published in any scientific journal but has been published as a book and has its own website. If interested, you can read its synopsis here and all of its content in its chaptered pages. $\endgroup$ – user287279 Aug 29 '19 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ Are you referring to computationalism? $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Aug 30 '19 at 6:28
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I don’t think the question of whether the informational content of the mind determines its structure can be answered definitely by referring to current standard psychology or neuroscience references because there is still no consensus on what the mind is, and likewise for its structure. I’ll try to to give the answer based on current knowledge in physics and neuroscience, though.

First, let’s clarify what you mean by the phrase “determine its structure”. You give an analogy in your comment above: in general relativity, the distribution of mass-energy determines the space-time geometry (of that region). So, “determine its structure” here means “determine the topology/geometry of the structure”, not “determine the basic structure, per se”. That is, the mass-energy distribution does not determine the basic structure of the space-time – the basic-structure of space-time is still a 4-dimensional differentiable manifold, with three space coordinates and one time coordinate, coupled with the metric tensor g and governed by the Einstein Field Equation. [1,2] Each different space-time region with different mass-energy distribution just has different topology/geometry of space-time.

What is the basic structure of the mind? Certainly, there is no standard answer for this yet. However, currently, there are several theories [3-5] that assert that the mind is composed of information and information processing, which is the concept similar to the concept of your question. But none of these theories propose that the basic structure of the mind is determined by its informational content although the topology/geometry of the mind or what the individual mind is actually like is determined by its informational content. For example, in the Integrated Information Theory, the mind is invariably the integrated information, and in the Basic Theory of the Mind, the mind is invariably the composite of information processes – no matter what the informational content of the mind is. But, like the case of topology/geometry of space-time above, what the mind is actually like in each individual case is determined by its informational content.

Another obvious analogy is us. Each of us has different physical and mental compositions, which determine who each of us individually is (or determine the topology/geometry, if you will, of each of us). But the basic structure of us are all the same – the basic structure of homo sapiens.

To recap, the informational content of the mind determines the topology/geometry of the mind but does not determine the basic structure of the mind. This is what I can logically conclude from the current scientific knowledge.

References:

1.Wikipedia. Space Time.

2.Wikipedia. General Relativity Theory.

  1. Doyle B. Mind-body Identity Theory The Information Philosopher.

  2. Tononi G. Integrated Information Theory of consciousness: An updated account. Arch Ital Biol. 2012 Jun-Sep;150(2-3):56-90.

  3. Ukachoke C. The Basic Theory of the Mind. 1st ed, 2018. Charansanitwong Printing Co.: Bangkok, Thailand.

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