The term late error detection as such could be employed without consciousness indeed. Yet, Jeffrey Gray gives it some special meaning that I will try briefly describe below.

Jeffrey Gray in his book speaks about conscious experience, that is, exactly about qualia. Self, mind, and intellect as such is not there.

He has tried first hard to put conscious experience in the framework of the normal science (I guess that he means here physicalism) but then he shows that conscious experience cannot be explained by the theories within a normal science (functionalism, neural correlates of consciousness, etc.).

According to him, conscious experience is some multipurpose display. It is necessary yet to find how Nature produces it but at the moment this is not that important.

He considers an organism from a cybernetic viewpoint, as a bunch of feedback mechanisms (servomechanisms). For a servomechanism it is necessary to set a goal and then to have a comparator that compares the goal with the reality. It might function okay at the unconscious level but conscious experience binds everything together in its display. This binding happens not only between different senses (multimodal binding) but also within a single sense (intramodel binding). For example we consciously experience a red kite as a whole, although in the brain lines, colors, surfaces are processed independently. Yet we cannot consciously experience a red kite not as a whole, just try it.

Hence the conscious display gives a new opportunity to compare expectations with reality and Jeffrey Grayrefers to it as late error detection. That is, there is a bunch of servomechanisms that are running on their own but then conscious experience allows brain to synchronize everything together. This is a clear advantage from the Evolution viewpoint.


On 04.04.2012 09:31 Bruno Marchal said the following:

On 03 Apr 2012, at 22:38, Craig Weinberg wrote:

On Apr 3, 3:56 pm, Evgenii Rudnyi <> wrote:
On 03.04.2012 02:06 Stathis Papaioannou said the following:


Since there is no evolutionary advantage to consciousness it must be a
side-effect of the sort of behaviour that conscious organisms display.
Otherwise, why did we not evolve as zombies?

The evolutionary advantage of consciousness, according to Jeffrey Gray,
is late-error detection.

Why would a device need to be conscious in order to have late-error

I agree. People confuse consciousness-the-qualia, and
consciousness-the-integrating function. Stathis was talking about the
qualia. Evolution can press only on the function, a priori.

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