Feb 12, 2020, 2:47 PM
—-“A widespread misconception in much of psychology holds that as vertebrate animals evolved, ‘newer’ brain structures were added over existing ‘older’ brain structures”
Your Brain Is Not an Onion with a Tiny Reptile Inside
A widespread misconception in much of psychology holds that (1) as vertebrate animals evolved, “newer” brain structures were added over existing “older” brain structures and (2) these newer,….. “All vertebrates possess the same basic brain—and forebrain—regions. … [None] are evolutionarily newer in some mammals than others. … even the prefrontal cortex, a region associated with reason and action planning, is not a uniquely human structure.”— Robin Hanson @robinhanson
A statement without meaning – there’s only one cell type in the nervous system, three subtypes, but almost countless variation that all functional regions in the brain evolved from. So what? Does that mean we can’t demarcate dramatic evolutionary leaps in function by organism?
To say that a fish is sentient and aware is true. To say it is conscious is to demand we define the spectrum of predictive models capable for the organism, and its ability to react vs choose vs reason vs calculate transformations of state vs calculate cooperation.
So if the point is to clarify that the brain is just a collection of similar cells in various forms of organization and that for all intents and purposes our brain is an outgrowth of our consciousness (modeling of our body and movement in space) yes.
To equate sentience (feeling of changes in state), and awareness (of change in state of environment) and semi-consciousness (prediction of future states and possible reactions), consciousness (prediction of future permutations of state), to transformations of state is a leap.
If the question is ‘who is the observer’ (which I suspect is the origin of most problems in philosophy and cognitive science) it’s memory of the last few memories recursively processed as a stream of changes in model in the hippocampal region.
Consciousness is a verb not a noun.
Why do I care? No more woo woo in cognitive science please. If you can’t pass the mirror test, the gesture test, sympathy test (cooperation), demonstrate natural operational grammar (language), and create multi-part tools, or enter into agreement (consent) then you’re far behind.
The difference between the engine of a 3d video game and the human brain turns out to be terrifyingly small. We just do everything in massive parallel and at a much lower voltage and current because of it, and we do the prediction as well as the construction.