Can Evolutionary Theory Explain the Existence of Consciousness? A Review of Humphrey, N. (2010) Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness. London: Quercus, ISBN 9781849162371
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
This review summarises why it is difficult for Darwinian evolutionary theory to explain the existence and function of consciousness. It then evaluates whether Humphrey's book Soul Dust overcomes these problems. According to Humphrey, consciousness is an illusion constructed by the brain to enhance reproductive fitness by motivating creatures that have it to stay alive. Although the review entirely accepts that consciousness gives a first-person meaning to existence, it concludes that Humphrey does not give a convincing account of how this can arise from random variations in the genome. Nor does he demonstrate how first-person experiences might enter into or be reducable to third-person functioning. The review concludes that Humphrey's case is unconvincing, and goes on to suggest that an entirely different, non-reductive approach may be required to understand consciousness.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Nicholas Humphrey (2011). Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness. Princeton University Press.
Ian Vine (2001). Motivating Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (1):190-191.
N. Humphrey (1992). A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness. Simon and Schuster.
Ralph D. Ellis (2000). Efferent Brain Processes and the Enactive Approach to Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):40-50.
Max Velmans (1995). The Limits of Neuropsychological Models of Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (4):702-703.
Ted Honderich (2004). Consciousness as Existence, Devout Physicalism, Spiritualism. Mind and Matter 2 (1):85-104.
Stewart Goetz (2010). The God of Consciousness: A Review Essay on Recent Work by J. P. Moreland. Philosophia Christi 12 (1):189 - 200.
Stuart Hameroff, Overview: Could Life And Consciousness Be Related To The Fundamental Quantum Nature Of The Universe?
Naomi M. Eilan (2000). Primitive Consciousness and the 'Hard Problem'. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):28-39.
Daniel C. Dennett (2003). Explaining the "Magic" of Consciousness. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 1 (1):7-19.
Nicholas Humphrey (1984). Consciousness Regained: Chapters in the Development of Mind. Oxford University Press.
W. D. Lighthall (1926). The Outer Consciousness, a Biological Entity. Montreal, Witness Press.
Added to index2011-12-17
Total downloads44 ( #98,324 of 1,911,915 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #146,782 of 1,911,915 )
How can I increase my downloads?