On 2/10/2019 3:34 PM, Philip Thrift wrote:

Two recent books:

The First Minds: Caterpillars, Karyotes, and Consciousness
Arthur S. Reber

Brain-Mind: From Neurons to Consciousness and Creativity
Paul Thagard

When Did Consciousness Begin?
Paul Thagard

Thagard's 10 hypotheses:

1. Consciousness has always existed, because God is conscious and eternal.

2. Consciousness began when the universe formed, around 13.7 billion years ago.

3. Consciousness began with single-celled life, around 3.7 billion years ago (Reber).

4. Consciousness began with multicellular plants, around 850 million years ago.

5. Consciousness began when animals such as jellyfish got thousands of neurons, around 580 million years ago.

6. Consciousness began when insects and fish developed larger brains with about a million neurons (honeybees) or 10 million neurons (zebrafish) around 560 million years ago.

7. Consciousness began when animals such as birds and mammals developed much larger brains with hundreds of millions neurons, around 200 million years ago. [Thagard]

8. Consciousness began with humans, homo sapiens, around 200,000 years ago.

9. Consciousness began when human culture became advanced, around 3000 years ago (Julian Jaynes).

10. Consciousness does not exist, as it is just a scientific mistake (behaviorism} or a “user illusion” (Daniel Dennett).

A good exposition, but I wish he had taken some time to consider what is consciousness.  I think he recognizes that there are different kinds and levels of consciousness, but he doesn't make it clear what they are; how are they related to memory and communication and planning.  It seems clear to me that different kinds and levels of consciousness appeared at different times.


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