Minimal Mind

  • Alexei A. Sharov
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 8)


In contrast to the human standard for mind established by Alan Turing, I search for a “minimal mind,” which is present in animals and even lower-level organisms. Mind is a tool for the classification and modeling of objects. Its origin marks an evolutionary transition from protosemiotic agents, whose signs directly control actions, to eusemiotic agents, whose signs correspond to ideal objects. The hallmark of mind is a holistic perception of objects, which is not reducible to individual features or signals. Mind can support true intentionality of agents because goals become represented by classes or states of objects. Basic components of mind appear in the evolution of protosemiotic agents; thus, the emergence of mind was inevitable. The classification capacity of mind may have originated from the ability of organisms to classify states of their own body. Within primary modeling systems, ideal objects are not connected with each other and often tailored for specific functions, whereas in the secondary modeling system, ideal objects are independent from functions and become interconnected via arbitrarily established links. Testing of models can be described by commuting diagrams that integrate measurements, model predictions, object tracking, and actions. Language, which is the tertiary modeling system, supports efficient communication of models between individuals.


Object Tracking Functional Information Ideal Object Chromatin State Genetic Selection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute on AgingBaltimoreUSA

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