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← The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

Al Denelsbeck's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Al Denelsbeck

Comment 19 by Steve Zara: My view is that the reason why we end up with a feeling that things aren't explained is evolutionary. There has been no evolutionary requirement for our self-awareness to be so detailed that we know how it happens. There is no need for us to understand how our brain cells interact for us to have enough self-awareness to thrive as humans. So, we naturally experience mystery when we contemplate our own self-awareness.

I'm beginning to think this emphasis on "self-awareness" is a combination of ego and confirmation bias. We believe that thinking about our thought processes is pretty damn spiffy, but remain unaware of how many things actually take place within our brains that influence our decisions. Is the concept of self-awareness just an example of creating an accomplishment, painting the bullseye around the arrow after it's landed? Which leads to, what are the ramifications of an evolved sense of ego?

I'm very fond of the empirical approach to philosophy, basically asking, "What advancement does this produce?" The supposed recognition of self-reference hasn't really produced anything of value, and instead seems to bog us down in meaningless discussions - while the investigations into neural functions continually show how unaware we are of base influences, ones that we cannot overcome until we stop believing we engage in nothing but purposeful direction.

To my mind, too few people stop to ask the right questions. Though, "Why do we have self-awareness?" might be a good question, we should always recall the trap of potential assumptions and be able to ask, "Why do we think we have self-awareness?" as well. Even the aforementioned Mirror Test does not demonstrate self-awareness, since I don't believe any species inherently recognized themselves - instead, they pieced it together based on evaluating the patterns, which is an entirely different manner of cognitive function. Any form of pain response could be called self-awareness, and that exists even in some pretty simple species.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 14:45:53 UTC | #949060