Consciousness is explored.

Define what consciousness is. Can we ever explain consciousness? Is consciousness linguistically eliminated? These areas are emphasized.

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...usness has the function of alerting the system, reacting to emergencies or dealing with novelties.

4. Dawkins (1976) - the selfish gene; Simulation. People imagine all alternatives open to them; they set up a model in their heads of a restricted set of entities. They see in the 'minds eye', this is better than trial and error.

"The evolution of the capacity to simulate seems to have culminated in subjective consciousness. Perhaps consciousness arises when the brains simulation of the world becomes so complete that it must include a model of the self"


- Replicator molecule created a new kind of stability
- First generation errors
- Errors made evolution possible
- Nothing actually wants to evolve
- Competition caused defense mechanisms to form
- Replicators are the genes, we are the survival machines
- Genes do not plan ahead, they just are
- Replicators have achieved triumphs such as the heart/eye
- Sexual reproduction shuffles and mixes genes
- Bodies are the temp host; genes are long lived
- Selection has favoured genes which cooperate
- See someone searching, input subjective feelings
- Feelings include 'desire', 'aim' and 'mental pictures'
- This introspection has evolved property of consciousness
- Genes control behaviour indirectly; set-up
- Genes need to anticipate eventualities
- Simulation


Libet (1985) - found that brain activity began about ½ second before the person was aware of deciding to act (wrist action). Consciousness is a mere after thought. This shows confusion about the act of free will.

- Wrist action is not analogals to free will actions in real life
- Dennett (1991) - whole idea of there being a 'time' which consciousness happened is miss-guided.

Wegner (1999) - experiments that include the feeling of free will. They found that even on forced trials participants were convinced they freely willed the ouija board to move. Concluded that the feeling of acting freely is not a reliable guide to the course of action.

Wegner (1999) - Free will illusion (3 steps)

1. We are ignorant about the way our brains plan actions/intentions.
2. We become aware of the planning and call these intentions
3. Action occurs after the intention and so we leap-erroneously to the conclusion that 'our' intention causes the action.

There is currently a vigorous debate about how neuroscience can contribute to our understanding of free will (Libet et al, 1999).


" The astonishing hypothesis is that 'you', your joys, sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast ...