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Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness (forthcoming)

Veit, Walter (2022) Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness (forthcoming). [Preprint]

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Abstract

This article introduces and defends the “pathological complexity thesis” as a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of minimal consciousness, or sentience, that connects the study of animal consciousness closely with work in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. I argue that consciousness is an adaptive solution to a design problem that led to the extinction of complex multicellular animal life following the Avalon explosion and that was subsequently solved during the Cambrian explosion. This is the economic trade-off problem of having to deal with a complex body with high degrees of freedom, what I call “pathological complexity.” By modeling the explosion of this computational complexity using the resources of state-based behavioral and life history theory we will be able to provide an evolutionary bottom-up framework to make sense of subjective experience and its function in nature by paying close attention to the ecological lifestyles of different animals.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Veit, Walterwrwveit@gmail.com0000-0001-7701-8995
Keywords: Affective neuroscience; Common currency; Comparative neuroeconomics; Decision theory; Evolution of consciousness; Sentience
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Action
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Economics
General Issues > Ethical Issues
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Judgment and Decision Making
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Mr. Walter Veit
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2022 03:52
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2022 03:52
Item ID: 20786
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Action
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Economics
General Issues > Ethical Issues
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Judgment and Decision Making
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Date: 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20786

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