Consciousness results when communication modifies the form of self-estimated fitness

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
The origin and development of consciousness is poorly understood. Although it is clearly a naturalistic phenomenon evolved through Darwinian evolution, explaining it in terms of physicochemical, neural, or symbolic mechanisms remains elusive. Here I propose that two steps had to be taken in its evolution. First, living systems evolved an intrinsic goal-directedness by internalizing Darwinian fitness as a self-estimated fitness. The self-estimated fitness participates in a feedback loop that effectively produces intrinsic meaning in the organism. Second, animals with advanced nervous systems evolved a special form of communication that modifies the way each partner estimates fitness. The resulting change in intrinsic meaning is experienced subjectively as a primary form of consciousness. This primary form is subsequently used to generate, partly through internalized dialogue, more complex forms of consciousness, such as consciousness of the natural and social worlds, consciousness of the self, and language-dependent forms of consciousness.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 2 (2015-11-21)
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
117 ( #42,575 of 64,223 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #42,263 of 64,223 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.