On 10/12/2012 3:40 AM, Alberto G. Corona wrote:
 life, consciousness, free will, intelligence

I try to give a phsical definition of each one:

Life: whathever that maintain its internal entropy in a non trivial way (A diamant is not alive). That is, to make use of hardwired and adquired information to maintain the internal entropy by making use of low entropic matter in the environment.

Consciousness: To avoid dangers he has to identify chemical agents, for example, but also (predators that may consider him as a prey. While non teleológical dangers, like chemicals, can be avoided with simple reactions, teleológical dangers, like the predators are different. He has to go a step further than automatic responses, because he has to deliberate between fight of flight, depending on its perceived internal state: healt, size, wether he has breeding descendence to protect etc. He needs to know the state of himself, as well as the boundary of his body. He has to calibrate the menace by looking at the reactions of the predator when he see its own reactions. there is a processing of "I do this- he is responding with that", at some level. So a primitive consciouness probably started with predation. that is not self consciousness in the human sense. Self consciousness manages an history of the self that consciousness do not.

Free will: There are many dylemmas that living beings must confront, like fight of flight: For example, to abandon an wounded cub or not, to pass the river infested of crocodriles in orde to reach the green pastures in the other side etc. many of these reactions are automatic, like fight and fligh. because speed of response is very important (Even most humans report this automatism of behaviour when had a traumatic experience). But other dilemmas are not. A primitive perception of an internal conflict (that is free will) may appear in animals who had the luxury of having time for considerating either one course of action or the other, in order to get enough data. This is not very common in the animal kingdom, where life is short and decission have to be fast. Probably only animals with a long life span with a social protection can evolve such internal conflict. When there is no time to spend, even humans act automatically. If you want to know how an animal feel, go to a conflict zone.

I generally agree with your analysis. And I think you are right that what is called 'free will' is a feeling about conflicting internal values. This comports with the legal idea of coerced (not-free) choice. Coercion externally imposes a cost on your decision so that values are shifted and what would have had a negative value has a positive value competing with normally dominant alternatives.

Intelligence: The impulse of curiosity and the hability to elaborate activities with the exclusive goal of learning and adquiring experience, rather than direct survivival. of course that curiositiy is not arbitrary but focused in promising activities that learn something valuable for survival. A cat would inspect a new furniture. Because its impulse for curiosity is towards the search of locations for hiding, watch and shelter and for the knowledge of the surroundings. That is intelligence, but a focused intelligence. It is not general intelligence.

But if you define 'general intelligence' as not having any goal, you are defining it out of existence. Our own goals may not be consciously present, but I don't think they are any less motivated than the cats.


We have also a focused curiosity but it is not so narrow.


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