Consciousness and Biological Evolution
Author: Lindahl B.I.B.
Source: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 187, Number 4, August 1997 , pp. 613-629(17)
Publisher: Academic Press
It has been suggested that if the preservation and development of consciousness in the biological evolution is a result of natural selection, it is plausible that consciousness not only has been influenced by neural processes, but has had a survival value itself; and it could only have had this, if it had also been efficacious. This argument for mind-brain interaction is examined, both as the argument has been developed by William James and Karl Popper and as it had been discussed by C. D. Broad. The problem of identifying mental phenomena with certain neural phenomena is also addressed. The main conclusion of the analysis is that an explanation of the evolution of consciousness in Darwinian terms of natural selection does not rule out that consciousness may have evolved as a mere causally inert effect of the evolution of the nervous system, or that mental phenomena are identical with certain neural phenomena. However, the interactionistic theory still seems, more plausible and more fruitful for other reasons brought up in the discussion.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University, Stockholm, S-106 91, Sweden
Publication date: 1997-08-01