A thermostat responds to its environment with an on/off, a 1 or a 0 --- a single bit of information. An insect has thousands of nerve cells, carefully interwoven and wired to sensors that detect light, pressure, trace chemicals, etc. --- and so the bug brain manipulates thousands of bits of information. Higher creatures are correspondingly more complex. Human brains detect millions of input signals and have billions of active neurons with hugely greater numbers of interconnections.

People are (most of the time!) inarguably conscious. There's a general consensus that animals, especially mammals, are conscious too, though their mental states are perhaps simpler and their problem-solving abilities more limited. This suggests many questions:

(It seems to me that answers to all of the above could well be "yes"....)

Friday, January 21, 2000 at 06:03:38 (EST) = 2000-01-21

TopicMind - TopicPhilosophy - TopicScience

(correlates: DiffuseConsciousness, Suboptimism, ThirdPlace, ...)