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  1. The Origins of Consciousness or the War of the Five Dimensions.Walter Veit - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-16.
    The goal of this article is to break down the dimensions of consciousness, attempt to reverse engineer their evolutionary function, and make sense of the origins of consciousness by breaking off those dimensions that are more likely to have arisen later. A Darwinian approach will allow us to revise the philosopher’s concept of consciousness away from a single “thing,” an all-or-nothing quality, and towards a concept of phenomenological complexity that arose out of simple valenced states. Finally, I will offer support (...)
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  • Towards a Comparative Study of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-12.
    In order to develop a true biological science of consciousness, we have to remove humans from the center of reference and develop a bottom-up comparative study of animal minds, as Donald Griffin intended with his call for a “cognitive ethology.” In this article, I make use of the pathological complexity thesis (Veit 2022a, b, c ) to show that we can firmly ground a comparative study of animal consciousness by drawing on the resources of state-based behavioral life history theory. By (...)
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  • Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-16.
    This article introduces and defends the “pathological complexity thesis” as a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of minimal consciousness, or sentience, that connects the study of animal consciousness closely with work in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. I argue that consciousness is an adaptive solution to a design problem that led to the extinction of complex multicellular animal life following the Avalon explosion and that was subsequently solved during the Cambrian explosion. This is the economic trade-off problem of having to (...)
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