Forma, Vol. 19 (No. 1), pp. 25-37, 2004
Original Paper

The Variant and Invariant in Perception

Fumihiko Taya1,2 and Ken Mogi2*

1Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2, Yamadagaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
2Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Takanawa Muse Bldg. 3-14-13, Higashigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 144-0022, Japan
*E-mail address:

(Received February 1, 2004; Accepted March 15, 2004)

Keywords: Consciousness, Qualia, Subjectivity, Information Representation

Abstract. The recent advances in cognitive neuroscience have made it possible to study the neural correlates of conscious experience in a systematic way. The first principles how and why we have phenomenal experience at all, however, is at present not known. Here, citing some recent advances in cognitive neuroscience, we argue that the phenomenal qualities (qualia) of subjective experience and the origin of subjectivity are tightly coupled. We propose that in order to find the first principles behind subjective experience, we need to tackle the yet-unknown principle in information representation in general, and in particular, the interplay between the variant and invariant in information representation. The relevance of quantum mechanical formalism in this respect is discussed.

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