David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In R. L. Amoroso (ed.), The Complementarity of Mind and Body: Fulfilling the Dream of Descartes, Einstein and Eccles. Nova Science (2010)
Two forms of independent action by consciousness have been proposed by various researchers – free will and holistic processing. (Holistic processing contributes to the formation of behavior through the holistic use of brain programs and encoding.) The well-known experiment of Libet et al. (1983) implies that if free will exists, its action must consist of making a selection among alternatives presented by the brain. As discussed herein, this result implies that any physical changes mind can produce in the brain are very small, and this in turn implies that holistic processing would also act to select among brain programs. The latter process would contribute to flexibility of behavior, which would therefore be an indication of the possible presence of consciousness in an animal. Because locomotion requires response to varying and unpredictable conditions, the above conclusions support the idea that simple forms of consciousness appear very early in the evolutionary line of the animal kingdom.
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