Updating Electromagnetic Theories of Consciousness.
John McFadden's update to CEMI Theory (Conscious ElectroMagetic Information) rests on the original basis that the electrochemical firing of neurons alters the surrounding electromagnetic field, but now includes a defense of the CEMI mechanisms as supported by recent experiments from Christof Koch's lab.
CEMI further stipulates that the changing electromagnetic fields caused by the brain's many firing neurons combine, interact, and interfere, and the brain's whole electric field becomes more prominent when neurons fire in synchrony. CEMI posits that neurons fire and alter the electromagnetic field and the electromagnetic field in turn acts on and modulates the firing of neurons. The claim is that this dynamic electromagnetic field, embodying integrated neuronal information, and supported by and influencing neuronal firing is
that is consciousness and conscious sensation.
In this way CEMI provides both a mechanism for consciousness to have a physical effect and also a way to solve the binding problem of consciousness by integrating parts into a unified whole. It also naturally integrates with Tononi's Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness. I must admit I'm partial to both theories and together they provide insight into the properties artificial substrates must have in order to host consciousness should they wind up being true.
It is important to note that this hasn't solved the Hard Problem of consciousness; there is still no explanation or reason as to why some particular electromagnetic field pattern is the conscious sensation of the colour blue instead of the sound of C for example. And it is more important to note that there has been a long history of intense philosophical and academic criticism of the theory and its short-comings; jumping off points to these references and related material can be found in the Wikipedia link below.
I stumbled upon McFadden's updated paper via this popular article http://www.learning-mind.com/quantum-theory-explains-what-consciousness-is/
that was shared on Google+ but can't remember by who - thank you, whoever it was!
Wiki: Electromagnetic Theories of Consciousnesshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_theories_of_consciousness #consciousness #cemi #integratedinformationtheory