The neurology of self-awareness

“Rama” explores the concept of the self, tying in the ideas of researchers such as Horace Barlow, Nick Humphrey, David Premack and Marvin Minsky (among others), who have suggested that consciousness may have evolved primarily in a social context. This includes Minsky’s ideas on “a second parallel mechanism that has evolved in humans to create representations of earlier representations” and Humphrey’s arguments “that our ability to introspect may have evolved specifically to construct meaningful models of other peoples minds in order to predict their behavior. ”

“Have we solved the problem of self?”, he asks in concluding the essay. “Obviously not – we have barely scratched the surface. But hopefully we have paved the way for future models and empirical studies on the nature of self, a problem that philosophers have made essentially no headway in solving. (And not for want of effort – they have been at it for three thousand years). Hence our grounds for optimism about the future of brain research – especially for solving what is arguably Science’s greatest riddle.”

Full Story: Edge.

(via Posthuman Blues)

1 Comment

  1. Interesting. As a somewhat notorious, philosopher on-the-edge; I would like to pose theses questions. WHAT is with the guy and his penguin lust on the story that precedes this one? What are his mirror neurons communicating? Are penguins self-conscious? Do they care? This guy was the founder of Microsoft Research???

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