DOI: 10.14704/nq.2004.2.1.33

The Cognitive Binding Problem: From Kant to Quantum Neurodynamics

George A. Mashour


The cognitive binding problem is a central question in the study of consciousness: how does the brain synthesize its modal and submodal processing systems to generate a unity of conscious experience? This essay considers several solutions to the binding problem, as well as their shortcomings. In particular, the current theory of neural synchronization as the basis for binding and consciousness is explored in its relationship to the relativity of simultaneity. This discussion of cognitive binding and simultaneity in the brain incorporates the philosophy of Kant, notably the principles of the transcendental unity of apperception and the transcendental aesthetic found in his Critique of Pure Reason. This leads to a more general consideration of consciousness and time, and explores the possibility of non-temporal theories of consciousness. The emerging field of quantum neurodynamics is discussed in this context, and its remarkable relationship to Kant is elucidated. Finally, the relevance of Kant’s philosophy to cognitive binding is used as a basis for the discussion of a neurophilosophical method in the investigation of consciousness.


cognitive binding problem; neural synchrony; neurophilosophy; Kant; quantum neurodynamics; consciousness

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