On 13.01.2012 22:39 Craig Weinberg said the following:
On Jan 13, 3:54 pm, Evgenii Rudnyi<use...@rudnyi.ru> 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
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 assume, therefore, that consciousness has a
survival value on its own right. 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 stroked me:
"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 must thank."
He assumes that consciousness is a simulation from the start though.
Yes, he assumes that conscious experience is created by the brain, so
you may call this simulation. Well, experiments shows that it takes
about a quoter of a second to make conscious experience formed, so it
seems to be reasonable.
If you do that, then it seems meaningful that the simulation fits so
closely with reality, whereas if you understand that sense is what
reality is made of, then it's not a surprise. If consciousness has a
survival value, then surely omniscience, teleportation, or the
ability to turn into a diamond on command would have an even greater
survival value. What he admits is the problem of identifying the
casual (?) effect of consciousness in it's own right is not a
problem, but a symptom of failing to see that causality supervenes
upon sense and not the other way around. Cause and an effect are a
kind of sense, arising from subjective memory, pattern recognition,
and world realism.
If you mean that senses exist independently of conscious experience of a
person, then you are probably close to panpsychism. Such a possibility
is discussed in the book as well:
p. 321. “Alternatively, no such new arrangement of the existing laws of
physics and chemistry will turn out to be possible. The fundamental laws
of physics themselves will need supplementation. It is difficult to see
how new fundamental laws could come into play only during biological
evolution, or they would not be fundamental. So it is probably
inevitable that any theory which seeks to account for consciousness in
terms of fundamental physical processes will involve ‘panpsychism’. That
is to say, it will be a theory in which the elements of conscious
experience are to be found pretty well in everything, animate or
inanimate, large or small. To most people this prospect will seem even
less palatable that that of consciousness in computers or brain slices.
But the state of our ignorance in this daunting field is so profound
that we should rule out nothing a priori on the grounds absurdity alone.
Bear in mind the absurdity of quantum mechanics!”
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