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Medical Info on the role of self-awareness in evolution?

  1. Jul 31, 2006 #1
    I'm looking for a good book/paper/whatever that discusses the role of self-awareness in the evolution of primates/early humans.

    Basically, I'm looking for a work that addresses questions like:
    What is the role of self-awareness in evolution?
    Does self-awareness confer some survival benefit to the animal?
    Is it a selected trait?
    Or is it simply a side effect from other selected traits that increase brain complexity/function?

    I'm having trouble seeing where self-consciousness fits in evolution because I know very little about this aspect of evolution.
    But, I am very eager to learn more.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2006
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  3. Jul 31, 2006 #2
    Well i would speculate that self-awareness is of benefit to adaptabillity. A self aware system is one that can adapt to changes in its enviroment and its self.
  4. Aug 30, 2006 #3
    If you find anything good please let me know. I read through half a dozen or more papers on evolutionary psychology a while back and there was not one mention of consiousness/awareness. I get the impression it is bad form to suggest that human consciousness has any effect on our behaviour, since it would imply we are not zombies. Darwin had no problem with the idea, but neo-Darwinists seem to dislike it intensely. But maybe this is a false impression.
  5. Aug 30, 2006 #4


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    Anything written about this would be sheerest speculation, since we don't know of any fosselizable correlates of self-awareness.

    There is stuff on the growth of the brain and the presence of notable frontal development, and correlations with archaeological industries, for example, but was Homo Ergaster self aware? Was Lucy? Who in hell knows?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2006
  6. Aug 30, 2006 #5


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    Some great researchers have made some conlusions about self-awareness.
    You may read the Damasio's Trilogy.

    Even a microbe is already aware of its environment (but perhaps not self-aware of it).

    We spoke about the man in a thread:
  7. Aug 31, 2006 #6


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    I don't know on what basis Damasio or anyone else could conclude scientifically that a bacterium is aware, assuming that a computer is not.

    Perhaps you could tell us?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  8. Sep 1, 2006 #7
    If a bacteria can recognise an invading virus as being not part of itself or its species, doesnt that mean the bacteria has some kind of self awareness?
  9. Sep 1, 2006 #8


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    That gets us down again to things a very simple electronic gadget can do. By logic then if what the bacterium does entails self awareness, then so does what the gadget does.

    For that matter, the recognition of unself is precisely what your immune system does; is it self aware?
  10. Sep 1, 2006 #9
    Yes perhaps it is self aware. Of course it depends on how u want to define self awareness, or a self, but my general idea is that our human self and self awareness also have their evolutionary ancestors, and no clear beginning unless it is at the beginning of life. For me self aware would mean the recognition of self/unself through any subjective experience.
  11. Sep 4, 2006 #10


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    I just gave the point of view of Damasio. BTW, a bacteria is able to evolve and transmit some learned strategies. I never said, and Damasio never said it, too that a bacteria was self-aware. He just said that a bacteria was aware of its environment.

    The self-awareneness thing seems to necessitate a minimal set of things: A brain map of the body, a past memory and a working memory. Many species have this mandatory collection.
  12. Sep 12, 2006 #11
    More nonsense on the origin of consciousness

    I would break the problem into these pieces.

    1st Perception
    2nd Perceptual Context
    3rd Conservation of Perceptual Context (Contextual Memory -external)
    4th Perception of Context
    5th Perception of Other Contexts
    6th Contextual Relationships
    7th Contextual Interactions
    8th Motility
    9th Mobility
    10th Interaction
    11th Communication
    Bright line-----------------------------------
    12th Conservation of all of the above
    13th Language
    14th Vocabulary
    15th Recognition of the Self
    16th Recognition of the Other
    Bright line ---------------------------------- Looping and Spiraling
    17th Start at the Beginning again, Finnegan again

    After all this I would begin to work on the ideas of consciousness. I have counted 17 perceptual modes the include the top eleven of the above list at inorganic levels. It is only when the combination of all of those include active conservation do we get into living perceptual modes.

    I get the idea that your generalized idea of consciousness is an abstract self awareness, where the self sees the self from an abstracted perspective where none of the elements of existence are contextually significant. I am not even sure that humans do that! Except the insane, of course. :rofl:
  13. Sep 13, 2006 #12


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