Following the Lucas Argument to Completion: J.R. Lucas, 18 June 1929 – 5 April 2020, In Memoriam


  • Alex Hankey sVYASA Yoga University in Bangalore


Complexity, Optimal regulation, Critical instability, Experience information, Thomian cognitive states, Mind-to-mind transfer of ideas, Beyond digital machines


Background: In 1959, Oxford Philosopher J.R. Lucas proposed his Gödelian Argument, a consequence of Gödel's incompleteness theorem is that the human mind ‘stands outside' the realm of mathematical logic possessing abilities no computer can emulate without purpose-built design. Douglas Hofstadter's book, Gödel Escher Bach, popularised Lucas's work, forming the launching point for the 20th century's defining achievement towards a western science-based theory of consciousness. With the assistance of philosopher, Jon Shear, David Chalmers, Hofstadter's student, produced highly discussed papers and a book naming four criteria that any theory of consciousness must satisfy for body and mind to couple. Most important is the requirement for a ‘Double Aspect Information Theory of Consciousness'. Here we show that the Experience Information approach to body-mind coupling necessarily results in a form of mind with properties that no digital computer can emulate.

Methods: The Experience Information approach departs from previous theory by depending on complexity biology: specifically, its property that Loci of Control of all physiological functions are sited at criticality, i.e. critical instabilities. Previous work showed that excited states of critical instabilities cannot encode digital information, so they cannot be emulated by digital machines. Their lowest energy states have pure consciousness-like properties, while their excitations directly encode ‘Forms' or ‘Ideas'; something digital machines cannot do - a first indication that Lucas's Gödelian Argument is correct.

Main Result: Elementary excitations are encoded at effectively zero energy cost, meaning that they can be transmitted between correlated systems with space-like separation.

Discussion: That the human mind primarily encodes ideas is ancient wisdom in both East and West. In India's Vedic civilisation, the first Vedanga (Limb of the Veda), Shiksha, clearly shows that mind first encodes ideas, while digitisable forms like words in specific languages are secondary, agreeing with modern studies of stroke. Shiksha terms the stage at which encoding of ideas takes place, Pashyanti, at the level of the ‘heart', second to the first stage, Para, that of pure consciousness. In the west, the idea mind encodes ‘forms' can be traced back to Plato's Republic, then to Rene Descartes' Discourse on Method, to Immanuel Kant's reasoning that mind encodes ‘wholes'; that gave rise to the cognitive theory of Gestalts, and then to Gestalt Psychology. The idea that mind's encoding is not digital has an impeccable history involving some of the finest minds in the history of mankind.

Experience Information achieves Lucas's conclusion far more decisively than even he could have anticipated. All psychic phenomena stand witness to this conclusion. A review of detailed evidence for such phenomena from Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake and other such scientists will be given in a second paper. Now that a good theory is available, all such material can be set on a proper scientific footing. 

Summary: Lucas Gödelian Argument led to David Chalmers's criteria and then to Experience Information at criticality the first all-inclusive theory of experience: cognitive states consist of forms superimposed on self-awareness, encoded via Thomian catastrophes, which can be directly manipulated by the intellect - both properties fundamentally beyond the capacity of any digital machine. The icing on Lucas's cake, as it were, is that the new theory can explain the Direct Transfer of Ideas from Mind to Mind, for which an abundance of evidence exists. 




How to Cite

Hankey, A. (2021). Following the Lucas Argument to Completion: J.R. Lucas, 18 June 1929 – 5 April 2020, In Memoriam. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(1), 265–278. Retrieved from