Stephen King wrote:

> >>PS, to Russell: I think that you are conflating consciousness
> >>with self-awareness in section 9.5 of your book. <wlEmoticon-
> >>sadsmile[1].png> The two are not the same thing. Consciousness
> >>is purely passive. Self-awareness is active in that is involves
> >>the continuous modeling (passive consciousness) with the
> >>continuous act of choosing between alternatives (free will).

I missed this comment earlier. It surprised me, as I do not conflate
the two (self awareness requires consciousness, but consciousness
without self-awareness is at least conceivable). 

Section 9.5 is about evolutionary explanations of self-awareness and
free will, so is not about the more general phenomenon of
consciousness at all. However, maybe you thought I was conflating the two
in the very last sentence: "I can conclude in agreement with Dennett that
consciousness is an extremely rare property ion the animal
kingdom". If this were only based on section 9.5, then this would be
overreaching conclusions from the mirror test and Macchiavellian
theory. But I also base the comment on the anthropic "ants are not
conscious argument" (section 5.4), which is about the more general
concept of consciousness, not just self-awareness, and also the Occam
catastrophe argument (page 84) leads to a (tentative) conclusion that
self-awareness is actually required for consciousness after all. It is
one of the more contentious conclusions of the book, so I'm happy for
that to be pulled apart and debated,


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics
University of New South Wales

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