** Toward a science of consciousness 2004 **
"Performances of Self-Awareness used to explain the Evolutionary Advantages of Consciousness "
Christophe Menant (crmenant[at]free.fr) - Short paper - (Printable version).
Evidencing an evolutionary explanation to consciousness has so far proven to be very difficult. We consider here an earlier stage in evolution (self-awareness) and introduce evolutionary advantages attached to this stage that appeared millions of years before consciousness during evolution. At level of self-awareness, we show that goup life with identification to suffering conspecific produces anxiety, and that anxiety limitation induces development of self-awareness, group life and emotions, with empathy, imitation and language as evolutionary advantages. We consider that resulting acceleration of self awareness development led to self-consciousness.
More work is to be done, and consequences of the proposed model are introduced: Consciousness and anxiety within great apes and dolphins, autism as resulting of problems with anxiety limitation, anxiety limitation as a base for a phylogenesis of emotions. Completion of model is also introduced with question about coverage of phenomenal-consciousness and access-consciousness.
Evolution of Self-Awareness Toward Anxiety and Consciousness
Starting point in evolution: Self-Awareness. (Non-human primates, mirror neurons, group life, identification to conspecific).
Process: Identification to sufferings of conspecifics produces anxiety within subject. Anxiety limitation induces development of self-awareness, group life and emotions, with empathy, imitation and language as evolutionary advantages.
Evolution Trend: Acceleration of development of these performances due to positive feedback on self-awareness. Self-consciousness as a by product of self-awareness evolution.
Summary in Fig 1. Details in Fig 2.
Evolutionary advantages of Self-Awareness have been highlighted. Self-Consciousness can then be looked at as a by-product of Self-Awareness evolution.
Process steps and consequences are to be analysed in more detail. See details on Fig 2.