Mind as Evolution and Evolution as Such

Robert Pallbo © 1999

in F. Heylighen, J Bollen, and, A. Riegler (eds.) The Evolution of Complexity, pp. 201-219, Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, 1999

preprinted as LUCS 34

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One of the purposes of consciousness is to acquire knowledge. The models of this task traditionally assume a division between the known and the knower, a division that leads into doubtful reasoning about some kind of (frequently disguised) homunculus. The current paper tries to avoid such fallacies by viewing the adaptation of the mind as an evolutionary process, a process distinct (but not independent of), and faster than phylogenetic evolution. To allow the modelling of the mind as evolution, the first aim of the paper is to outline a general framework of evolution. Within this framework, phylogenetic and ontogenetic (individual) evolution can be generated as special cases. The particular characteristics and mechanisms that allows an evolution of the individual mind is then presented. In this, spontaneous, or stochastic, activity among the neurons take an important position as the variation mechanism. Furthermore, `resonance' between the sensorial input and the brain is taken as the selection mechanism. Finally, this view of the mind allows a simpler explanation of how the mind could evolve in nature since the model does not assume that the mind inherits a huge amount of specialized computational abilities.
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