Dynamical Emergence Theory (DET): A Computational Account of Phenomenal Consciousness

Roy Moyal, Tomer Fekete, Shimon Edelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Scientific theories of consciousness identify its contents with the spatiotemporal structure of neural population activity. We follow up on this approach by stating and motivating Dynamical Emergence Theory (DET), which defines the amount and structure of experience in terms of the intrinsic topology and geometry of a physical system’s collective dynamics. Specifically, we posit that distinct perceptual states correspond to coarse-grained macrostates reflecting an optimal partitioning of the system’s state space—a notion that aligns with several ideas and results from computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology. We relate DET to existing work, offer predictions for empirical studies, and outline future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalMinds and Machines
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Awareness
  • Macrostates
  • Metastability
  • Neural dynamics
  • Perception
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Artificial Intelligence


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