If consciousness (and specifically man’s capacity for reason) evolved by natural selection, then the trait selected would necessarily lead to success in reproducing oneself. The evolutionary purpose of consciousness would be, so to speak, to rut more successfully. But if the purpose of consciousness is to rut, then any correlation between consciousness and truth about the natural world would be coincidental to effectiveness in the mating game.
In a world where consciousness can only evolve as a mating strategy, a correspondence between consciousness and discernment of truth would be a spandrel—mere icing on the cake.
How tight a link might we expect between reproductive success and the contemplation of truth? Not a lot, it would seem, if the experience of philosophy majors on the dating scene is any measure. “Hey, baby—wanna’ read some Nietzsche with me?” is considerably less effective as a dating strategy than “Hey baby—wanna… ?” Well, you get the point.Michael Egnor, “Did consciousness evolve to find love?” at Mind Matters News
Here are neurosurgeon Michael Egnor’s two earlier articles on Michael Graziano’s approach to consciousness:
Neuroscientist Michael Graziano should meet the p-zombie. A p-zombie (a philosopher’s thought experiment) behaves exactly like a human being but has no first-person (subjective) experience. The meat robot violates no physical principles. Yet we KNOW we are not p-zombies. Think what that means.
Did consciousness “evolve”? One neuroscientist doesn’t seem to understand the problems the idea raises. Darwinian evolution must select physical attributes. If consciousness evolved as a mere byproduct of physical brain processes, it is powerless in itself. Thus Graziano’s theories of consciousness are themselves mindless accidents.
And here is a selection of Dr. Egnor’s articles on consciousness:
In one sense, consciousness IS an illusion. We have no knowledge of the processes of our consciousness, only of the objects of its attention, whether they are physical, emotional, or abstract
Does Your Brain Construct Your Conscious Reality? Part I A reply to computational neuroscientist Anil Seth’s recent TED talk
Does Your Brain Construct Your Conscious Reality? Part II In a word, no. Your brain doesn’t “think”; YOU think, using your brain
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