When Consciousness Arises

As some know, I’m reading the Selfish Gene by Dawkins.

In it, he states:

“Perhaps consciousness arises when the brain’s simulation of the world becomes so complete that it must include a model of itself.”

Do you think that’s pretty accurate, or is there more to it?

consciousness becoming conscious of itself, i.e. thinking reacting not only against the external environment but also now against the internal process and mechanisms that determine what is thought. makes sense to me.

btw, you should check out the RichardDawkins.net Forum, theyve got a pretty good Philosophy section there, and while more focused on logic than ILP, is actually quite good. and im sure you would enjoy the Science section as well.


Why are you still reading Dawkins after… how long has it been… 3 years?

Move on brother, move on.

I don’t think so.
I see something similar to multiple stage loop-back, feed-back in the awareness.

Also, I think it’s in between emptiness and existence, so to say.
The side effect of the existence dissipating into the emptiness, We may see like this, too, I guess.

I can’t argue with a functional explanation like that. It’s very annoying.

But ‘complete’ is a very loose term. What does he mean with complete?

I have a bit of a problem with the idea that consciousness isn’t consciousness unless it includes a model of the self - how else is a model of the self formed except by using consciousness?

Dawkin’s definition almost seems to beg the question in a weird way i can’t quite put my finger on.

cognition and emotion initially react against stimuli data from outside, i.e. from the sense organs. eventually, the process becomes so sensitive that it begins to respond to its own cognitive data itself, i.e. the “end” or decision-making function of the process begins to take into account more directly the intermediate stages of the process, BEFORE the decision is made, and this generated the unconsciousness in modern form (as an unknown or nonperceived consciousness, i.e. cognitive functioning). over more time, this ever-increadingly complex process begins to respond more and more to the informational data within the process itself, i.e. the earlier stages of electrical/chemical exert direct effect upon the ending or later stages, and this generates the “feedback loops” because new neural curcuits and connections are established interprocessionally, linking the various stages and points in the cognitive/perceptive process.

given enough time and selection pressure from the enviornment which leads to higher cognitive functioning being adaptively beneficial, the process begins to primarily evolve to take into account its own “unconscious” or early processing, as well as processing data from external environments via sensation. this generates the increadingly closed feedback system of “awareness of the awareness” or processing of the process, which ends up creating consciousness of self, or self-awareness in the human sense. we begin to generate internal data and schemas reflective of our own processes, we begin to differentiate ourself AND our thoughts from the external environment, and most importantly, differentiate our thoughts/emotions which generate from internal processing (i.e. memory, thought, imagination, etc) from thoughts/emotions that generate from external stimuli (i.e. from sensation).

If you want to read about conciousness try Dennett maybe or Hilary Putnam et al, that is to say the philosophers of thought. Dawkins is not really in the right field to tackle something that is pretty much a philosophical issue atm. Should that pesky materialism ever realise a theory of consciousness: try scientists, otherwise they are probably dabbling outside their field atm; it’s far to grey an area to really expect science to contribute much more than the basics atm. That said there are works out there that do try to fit things into a box, but they are mostly philosophy couched in scientific language anyway.

newscientist.com/article/mg2 … brain.html

This is interesting. Might be worth a read in a scientific note, but note how it too is couched in a real lack of understanding. Much of neurology and psychology is guesswork atm.

Consciousness arises as a matter of functional awareness. It’s simply there to point out the most immediate bits of information. Most of it is going on subconsciously.

Like Rhinogrey, I’d also say that consciousness arises from immediate need, and we become aware of one more new thing to add to the itinery of things that we are already aware of/about…

I’m just guessing here, but I would think that the self is the first thing any brain no matter how complete would think of. I mean, what else is there to do in the womb but look at your hands? Any being wherever has spent more time with itself than any other object, why would a brain not have a fairly large list of actions and reactions associated with its own body? The self is a concept so fundamental to function (due mostly to the fact that all function is for the survival benefit of that self), that either everything or nothing must have one. For example, the only functional definition for a location is either in terms of distance in mysteps from myself, or in distance in mysteps from an object for which I know the distance in mysteps from myself. The mind isn’t merely self-conscious, it’s self-based.

But maybe I’m just ignorant. What things, for example, would not have consciousness, according to Dawkin’s theory?