How to recognize sentience?
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Manu Herrán
Consciousness, Sentience

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Two errors

There are two very common assumptions in the issue of consciousness / sentience that I think are wrong:

  • It is generally assumed that "in the absence of at least one centralized nervous system, consciousness will not arise." That is, if a being has no brain, he does not feel. But I think it's the other way around: if there is a functioning centralized nervous system, we can fairly safely affirm that there is a consciousness / awareness. But if there is no centralized nervous system, we can not ensure that sentience does not exist.
  • It is generally assumed that pleasure and pain have an evolutionary origin or an evolutionary explanation, since they produce motivation to achieve goals of perpetuating the genes, and associates this idea with the "emergency" of consciousness. For me this statement does not make any sense (evolutionary). Evolution does not need experiences or motivations. Evolution occurs when there are certain basic elements (of information?) that combine and copy with errors in a context of scarcity. To be efficient (in the perpetuation of genes) it is necessary to be... efficient. Nothing else. Not conscious.

These two things together make me think that consciousness / sentience can be much available / easier to produce than it seems. Every object could be somewhat conscious / sentient, even atoms.

If we keep insisting that pleasure and pain have an evolutionary origin or an evolutionary explanation, then we must also assume that pleasure and pain (and / or "will" and / or "identity") are some of those basic elements, preexisting (non-emerging) that participate in the evolutionary process.

This is a very good starting point about this subject:

Read the complete article here:




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