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Pouwel Slurink

Consciousness as an Adaptation- What Animals Feel & Why


ISBN: 978-3-88405-763-6

Price: €16.80 (including 19 % tax)


Abstract

Which animals have consciousness and which do not? To answer this question we first need a theory about the nature of consciousness. It will probably always remain somewhat of a miracle how consciousness arises from the synchronized firing of groups of neurons. Nonetheless, we currently have sufficient knowledge of brains and evolution to conclude that consciousness is a perfectly natural phenomenon. Additionally, from an evolutionary epistemological and behavioral ecological perspective it is relatively easy to understand the function of consciousness and why there are different ‘kinds of minds’. In this paper it is argued that consciousness arose as an evaluative framework which enables mobile organisms to make adaptive decisions. The way we experience the world is already a product of evolution. This evolutionary approach frees us from dualism and anthropocentrism and sheds new light on the relationship between consciousness, reason, the emotions, and choice. It is consistent with both Dehaene’s ‘neuronal workspace theory’ and Panksepp’s ‘affective neuroscience’. Above that, it offers a framework from which we can deduce which types of animals are almost certainly able to experience different kinds of sensations and which types of animals do probably not.




 


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