We neurally model external states through exteroception and internal states through interoception. Both models generate 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐢𝐦𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 and are essential for (anticipatory) homoestatic control. 1/
We can quantify aspects of our exteroceptive simulation through (mathematical) formalization and measurements (e.g., physics). Since exteroceptive modeling exploits probabilistic regularities in our environment, formalization is feasible. 2/
Similarly we can quantify aspects of our interoceptive simulation since someone's internal states are another's external states. Therefore, we can use the same tools of formalization and measurements as described above. 3/
For example, hunger is an interoceptive signal. Nonetheless, we can quantify the source of this signal, that is, the deviations in the relevant homoestatic system (i.e., metabolism), as well as the processes by which the signal is generated and transmitted. 4/
Interoception helps with inferring such deviations from desired internal states (triggering affective signals), thereby producing an impetus for behavioral control strategies that seek the "right" (i.e., compensatory) input. 5/
Such affective signaling induces meaning into the exteroceptive modeling process. We model and simulate external states because they afford action possibilities for compensating or avoiding (anticipated) deviations from desired internal states. 6/
These experiential simulations, generated by exteroceptive/interoceptive models (which are monitored by meta-control mechanisms that attempt to determine what is "real" vs "imagined") are sufficient for informing an organism's behavioral control strategies. 7/
To our knowledge, only humans have started to quantified aspects of what is experienced in these simulations. Moreover, we have started to formalize the modeling processes itself (e.g., active inference). 8/
Yet, people often ask whether consciousness (our experiential simulations) can arise from a physical basis (the quantified aspects of these experiential simulations). Some say this question poses a "hard problem". 9/
A hard problem emerges indeed, if we expect that the quantified aspects of our experiential simulations must fully account for all aspects of said simulation, including its experiential nature from within which any attempt of quantification is made possible in the first place.10/
This last part seems crucial. When we talk about a "physical basis", we refer to formalizations and measurements (i.e., abstractions) of regularities 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧 our experiential, exteroceptive simulation. 11/
Should we expect that what is quantified within our experiential simulations (e.g., by the natural sciences) must account for *all* aspects of the simulation itself? To me this position seems unreasonable. 12/
While we can formalized & measure certain aspects within the simulations (due to environmental regularities that underlie the modeling process), we should not expect that these abstractions can account for the experiential nature of the simulation itself.13/
They can only provide so much: abstractions of regularities in our world that the modeling process exploites to make inferences about internal and external states. 14/
The experiential nature of our simulation, in contrast, is an ontological axiom. It is a given fact of the natural world. The question we have to ask is why (function), when (conditions), and how (mechanism/process) are experiential states generated. 15/
These are challenging questions but I believe they are subjectable to scientific investigation. end/

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