17 found
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  1. Unlimited Associative Learning and the Origins of Consciousness: A Primer and Some Predictions.Jonathan Birch, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (6):1-23.
    Over the past two decades, Ginsburg and Jablonka have developed a novel approach to studying the evolutionary origins of consciousness: the Unlimited Associative Learning framework. The central idea is that there is a distinctive type of learning that can serve as a transition marker for the evolutionary transition from non-conscious to conscious life. The goal of this paper is to stimulate discussion of the framework by providing a primer on its key claims and a clear statement of its main empirical (...)
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  2.  12
    The evolution of the sensitive soul: learning and the origins of consciousness.Simona Ginsburg - 2019 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Edited by Eva Jablonka.
    A new theory about the origins of consciousness that finds learning to be the driving force in the evolutionary transition to basic consciousness. What marked the evolutionary transition from organisms that lacked consciousness to those with consciousness—to minimal subjective experiencing, or, as Aristotle described it, “the sensitive soul”? In this book, Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka propose a new theory about the origin of consciousness that finds learning to be the driving force in the transition to basic consciousness. Using a (...)
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  3. Learning and the Evolution of Conscious Agents.Eva Jablonka & Simona Ginsburg - 2022 - Biosemiotics 15 (3):401-437.
    The scientific study of consciousness or subjective experiencing is a rapidly expanding research program engaging philosophers of mind, psychologists, cognitive scientists, neurobiologists, evolutionary biologists and biosemioticians. Here we outline an evolutionary approach that we have developed over the last two decades, focusing on the evolutionary transition from non-conscious to minimally conscious, subjectively experiencing organisms. We propose that the evolution of subjective experiencing was driven by the evolution of learning and we identify an open-ended, representational, generative and recursive form of associative (...)
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  4. The Learning-Consciousness Connection.Jonathan Birch, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-14.
    This is a response to the nine commentaries on our target article “Unlimited Associative Learning: A primer and some predictions”. Our responses are organized by theme rather than by author. We present a minimal functional architecture for Unlimited Associative Learning that aims to tie to together the list of capacities presented in the target article. We explain why we discount higher-order thought theories of consciousness. We respond to the criticism that we have overplayed the importance of learning and underplayed the (...)
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  5. How Should We Study Animal Consciousness Scientifically?Jonathan Birch, Donald M. Broom, Heather Browning, Andrew Crump, Simona Ginsburg, Marta Halina, David Harrison, Eva Jablonka, Andrew Y. Lee, François Kammerer, Colin Klein, Victor Lamme, Matthias Michel, Françoise Wemelsfelder & Oryan Zacks - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):8-28.
    This editorial introduces the Journal of Consciousness Studies special issue on "Animal Consciousness". The 15 contributors and co-editors answer the question "How should we study animal consciousness scientifically?" in 500 words or fewer.
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  6. Functional Information: a Graded Taxonomy of Difference Makers.Nir Fresco, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (3):547-567.
    There are many different notions of information in logic, epistemology, psychology, biology and cognitive science, which are employed differently in each discipline, often with little overlap. Since our interest here is in biological processes and organisms, we develop a taxonomy of functional information that extends the standard cue/signal distinction. Three general, main claims are advanced here. This new taxonomy can be useful in describing learning and communication. It avoids some problems that the natural/non-natural information distinction faces. Functional information is​ ​produced (...)
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  7.  46
    The Transition to Minimal Consciousness through the Evolution of Associative Learning.Zohar Z. Bronfman, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
  8. The Transition to Experiencing: II. The Evolution of Associative Learning Based on Feelings.Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (3):231-243.
    We discuss the evolutionary transition from animals with limited experiencing to animals with unlimited experiencing and basic consciousness. This transition was, we suggest, intimately linked with the evolution of associative learning and with flexible reward systems based on, and modifiable by, learning. During associative learning, new pathways relating stimuli and effects are formed within a highly integrated and continuously active nervous system. We argue that the memory traces left by such new stimulus-effect relations form dynamic, flexible, and varied global sensory (...)
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  9.  18
    Living and Experiencing: Response to Commentaries.Eva Jablonka & Simona Ginsburg - 2024 - Biosemiotics 17 (1):111-130.
    In our target article, “Learning and the evolution of conscious agents” we outlined an evolutionary approach to consciousness, arguing that the evolution of a form of open-ended, representational, and generative learning (unlimited associative learning, UAL) drove the evolution of consciousness. Our view highlights the dynamics and functions of consciousness, delineates its taxonomic distribution and suggests a framework for exploring its developmental and evolutionary modifications. The approach we offer resonates with biosemioticians’ views, but as the responses to our target article show, (...)
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  10.  86
    The Transition to Experiencing: I. Limited Learning and Limited Experiencing.Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (3):218-230.
    This is the first of two papers in which we propose an evolutionary route for the transition from sensory processing to unlimited experiencing, or basic consciousness. We argue that although an evolutionary analysis does not provide a formal definition and set of sufficient conditions for consciousness, it can identify crucial factors and suggest what evolutionary changes enabled the transition. We believe that the raw material from which feelings were molded by natural selection was a global sensory state that we call (...)
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  11.  61
    Sentience as a System Property: Learning Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness.Eva Jablonka & Simona Ginsburg - 2023 - Biological Theory 18 (3):191-196.
    Veit suggests that the challenge of coordinating movement in multicellular organisms led to the evolution of a prioritizing value system, which rendered organisms complex enough to be sentient and drove the Cambrian explosion, while the absence of this evaluation system led to the demise of Ediacaran animals. In this commentary we criticize Veit’s terminology and evolutionary proposals, arguing that his terminology and evolutionary scenarios are problematic, and put forward alternative proposals. We suggest that sentience is a system property, and that (...)
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  12.  49
    Experiencing: a Jamesian approach.Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):5-6.
  13.  31
    The evolution of cultural gadgets.Daniel Dor, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (4):518-529.
    Heyes argues that human metacognitive strategies (“cognitive gadgets” or “mills”) are the products of cultural evolution based on domain‐general cognition with few simple biases. Although like Heyes, we believe that the evolution of domain‐general cognitive processes played a crucial role in the evolution of human cognition, we argue that Heyes' distinction between mills and grist is too sharp, that associative learning evolved gradually to become more complex and hierarchical, something that is not captured by the system 1/system 2 distinction, and (...)
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  14.  14
    Cognitive gadgets and genetic accommodation.Eva Jablonka, Simona Ginsburg & Daniel Dor - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42.
    Heyes argues that human metacognitive strategies evolved through cultural rather than genetic evolution. Although we agree that increased plasticity is the hallmark of human metacognition, we suggest cognitive malleability required the genetic accommodation of gadget-specific processes that enhanced the overall cognitive flexibility of humans.
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  15. Experiencing: A Jamesian Approach.Simona Ginsburg & E. Jablonka - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):102-104.
     
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  16.  54
    Scaffolding emotions and evolving language.Eva Jablonka & Simona Ginsburg - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3):154-155.
    We suggest that, in animals, the core-affect system is linked to partially assimilated behavioral dispositions that act as developmental scaffolds for the ontogenetic construction of emotions. We also propose that in humans the evolution of language altered the control of emotions, leading to categories that can be adequately captured only by emotion-words.
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  17. Classical and Operant Conditioning: Evolutionarily Distinct Strategies?Zohar Z. Bronfman, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2018 - In David Sloan Wilson, Steven C. Hayes & Anthony Biglan (eds.), Evolution & contextual behavioral science: an integrated framework for understanding, predicting, & influencing human behavior. Oakland, Calif.: Context Press, an imprint of New Harbinger Publications.