To understand the origin of consciousness, we need to be able to answer a surprisingly simple question: "What biological function, present throughout evolutionary history, could have evolved to become consciousness?" One possible answer to this question is "choice-making." All life forms make choices. And choice-making systems have evolved in the same way that visible physical features have evolved. This book traces choice-making from the relatively simple chemically automated systems of early single-cell life forms to the complex neurological systems we see in humans and other modern animals. It makes the case that consciousness is a form of complex choice-making that derives from this evolutionary history. Recognizing consciousness as a form of choice-making opens new possibilities for the study and understanding of how consciousness actually works.
In The Origin of Consciousness, Mark brings a fresh perspective to a field weighted down by centuries of arcane and circular argument. If you have gotten lost in this thicket, or just given up on consciousness as an unsolvable mystery, you will enjoy this new approach.
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