On 13.01.2012 22:36 meekerdb said the following:
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
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
I would say that before speech there was music. And without conscious
experience music is not possible. How sound waves form music without
consciousness? Hence Julian Jaynes' theory does not impress me.
I assume, therefore, that consciousness has a survival value on its
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
The main question here is how unconscious process in the brain produce
conscious experience. Say, there is some problem and it is necessary to
make choices. A person who has no idea what to do goes to sleep and in
the morning he has a conscious experience of a very good solution that
has been prepared unconsciously during the sleep. Then a question is how
to make a border between conscious and unconscious. Or you believe that
the both phenomena are the same?
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."
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