School of Computer Science

Publications and references related to
The Meta-Morphogenesis Project

(Still disorganised -- to be improved later).
(DRAFT: Liable to change)

Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham.

Installed: 24 Aug 2014
Last updated: 9 Dec 2016; 5 Dec 2017; 9 Oct 2018
24 Aug 2014; 17 Sep 2014; 19 Dec 2014 (Added related projects); 26 Oct 2015
This document is
A PDF version may be added later.

A partial index of discussion notes is in

Publications and projects related to the Meta-Morphogenesis project
(Project overview)


Papers and presentations on the Birmingham M-M web site
(A small subset...!)

Online papers and presentations

Video presentations related to the M-M project

Related projects (In no significant order -- may be rotated)

Please send me additional items for this list.
Email: a.sloman[AT]

Other Publications and presentations
(A seriously incomplete selection.)

Others -- to be added: request for suggestions

I know there are lots more related books and papers -- most of them not yet read by me. I would welcome a volunteer collaborator (or a group of collaborators) to help setting up an annotated online bibliography of notes, books, papers, discussions, videos, etc. relevant to meta-morphogenesis, whether the label is used or not, especially freely available open access documents, for reasons given here.

Possibly related Penrose presentation
Presentation by Roger Penrose, Manchester 2012
Roger Penrose seems to agree partially with one of the ideas here. At the Alan Turing centenary conference in Manchester (June 2012), he gave the final keynote lecture, which was open to the public. His lecture (The Problem of Modelling the Mathematical Mind) was recorded on video and is available online:

Questions from the audience were also recorded. Near the end of the video (at approximately 1 hour 26 minutes from the start) I had a chance to suggest that what he was trying to say about human consciousness and its role in mathematical discovery might be expressed (perhaps more clearly) in terms of the kinds of meta-cognitive functions required in animals, children, and future robots, as well as mathematicians. The common process is first gaining expertise in some domain (or micro-domain!) of experience and then using meta-cognitive mechanisms that inspect the knowledge acquired so far and discover the possibility of reorganising the information gained into a deeper, more powerful, generative form. The best known example of this sort of transition is the transition in human language development to use of a generative syntax. (At one point I mistakenly referred to a "generative theorem" when I meant "generative theory".)

I suggested that something similar must have happened when early humans made the discoveries, without the aid of mathematics teachers, that provided the basis of Euclidean geometry (later systematised through social processes). I have proposed that there are many examples, that have mostly gone unnoticed, of young children discovering what I call "Toddler theorems", some of them probably also discovered by other animals, as discussed in

This is also related to the ideas about "Representational Re-description" in the work of Annette Karmiloff-Smith, presented in her 1992 book.

Penrose seemed to agree with the suggestion, and to accept that it might also explain why the basis of some mathematical competences are biologically valuable, which he had previously said he was doubtful about. I don't know whether he realised he was agreeing to a proposal that instead of thinking of consciousness as part of the explanation of human mathematics, we can switch to thinking of the biological requirement for mathematical thinking as part of the explanation of important kinds of human (and animal) consciousness.

This is also connected with the need to extend J.J.Gibson's theory of perception of affordances discussed in

Maintained by Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham
Email: a.sloman[AT]