The evolution of consciousness

Carruthers, Peter (2000) The evolution of consciousness. [Book Chapter]

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How might consciousness have evolved? Unfortunately for the prospects of providing a convincing answer to this question, there is no agreed account of what consciousness is. So any attempt at an answer will have to fragment along a number of different lines of enquiry. More fortunately, perhaps, there is general agreement that a number of distinct notions of consciousness need to be distinguished from one another; and there is also broad agreement as to which of these is particularly problematic - namely phenomenal consciousness, or the kind of conscious mental state which it is like something to have, which has a distinctive subjective feel or phenomenology (henceforward referred to as p-consciousness). I shall survey the prospects for an evolutionary explanation of p-consciousness, on a variety of competing accounts of its nature. My goal is to use evolutionary considerations to adjudicate between some of those accounts.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:consciousness, evolution, higher-order experience, higher-order thought, inner sense
Subjects:Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:1205
Deposited By:Carruthers, Peter
Deposited On:22 Jan 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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