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Competing for Consciousness: A Darwinian Mechanism at an Appropriate Level of Explanation

Calvin, William H (1998) Competing for Consciousness: A Darwinian Mechanism at an Appropriate Level of Explanation. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

Treating consciousness as awareness or attention greatly underestimates it, ignoring the temporary levels of organization associated with higher intellectual function (syntax, planning, logic, music). The tasks that require consciousness tend to be the ones that demand a lot of resources. Routine tasks can be handled on the back burner but dealing with ambiguity, groping around offline, generating creative choices, and performing precision movements may temporarily require substantial allocations of neocortex. Here I will attempt to clarify the appropriate levels of explanation (ranging from quantum aspects to association cortex dynamics) and then propose a specific mechanism (consciousness as the current winner of Darwinian copying competitions in cerebral cortex) that seems capable of encompassing the higher intellectual function aspects of consciousness as well as some of the attentional aspects. It includes features such as a coding space appropriate for analogies and a supervisory Darwinian process that can bias the operation of other Darwinian processes.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Subjects:Neuroscience > Neuropsychology
Biology > Sociobiology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Neuroscience > Behavioral Neuroscience
ID Code:3218
Deposited By:Calvin, Prof. William H.
Deposited On:17 Oct 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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