On 1/13/2012 12:54 PM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
On 13.01.2012 19:20 meekerdb said the following:
On 1/13/2012 8:30 AM, John Clark wrote:
We can even ascribe it [consciousness] a role (explaining its
There is no way consciousness can have a direct Darwinian advantage
so it must be a byproduct of something that does have that virtue,
and the obvious candidate is intelligence.
That's not so clear since we don't know exactly what is the relation
of consciousness to intelligence. For a social animal having an
internal model of ones self and being able to model the thought
processes of others has obvious reproductive advantage.
Brent O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others
see us. --- Robert Burns
In my favorite book on consciousness (by Jeffrey Gray) there is chapter 7 "A survival
value for consciousness" that is summarized on p. 90:
"Whatever consciousness is, it is too important to be a mere accidental by-product of
other biological forces. A strong reason to suppose that conscious experience has
survival value in this. It is only by appealing to evolutionary selection pressures that
we can explain the good fit that exists between our perception of the world and our
actions in dealing with it, or between my perceptions and yours. Biological
characteristics that are not under strong selection pressure show random drift which
would be expected to destroy the fit.
I think he may go wrong there. If you like Julian Jaynes' theory of the origin of
consciousness: a kind internalized perception of speech that evolved because of co-opting
brain structures used for hearing and language processing. Then, because it is sharing
the same processing for inner narrative and for social exchange the two can't drift apart.
I assume, therefore, that consciousness has a survival value on its own right.
Intelligence, the modeling of oneself and ones relations to others has survival value and
this is tied through language to internal narratives. I think there could be intelligence
which did this modeling in someway not shared with external perception and while it would
be conscious in the sense of having an internal model of itself and its relations, it's
consciousness might be different from ours. We can imagine this in part by considering
changes to our own consciousness. If you're like me, more of your thinking is in words
and images than in talking pictures. But suppose there were implanted in your brain an
internet connection. Of course we developed the internet so it has a lot of written
language and pictures; but suppose for some reason the internet connection in your brain
only transmitted youtube.videos. So when you thought of Obama, instead of the word
"Obama" or a picture of him springing to mind, a video of him would spring to mind. This
would be a qualitative change in your consciousness.
That rules out epiphenomenalism, but leaves us with a problem of identifying the casual
effect of consciousness in its own right."
By the way in the Gray's book the term intelligence is not even in the index. This was
the biggest surprise for me because I always thought that consciousness and intelligence
are related. Yet, after reading the book, I agree now with the author that conscious
experience is a separate phenomenon.
Well, if to speak about evolution in general, then another quote from the book has
"For the good fit between conscious experience and outside reality, the idealist
philosopher Berkley called in God. In this more materialist age, it is Evolution that we
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