I am guessing that you limit your definition of consciousness to self-consciousness? My definition of consciousness includes all phenomenological experience.Spiral Out wrote:You'll have to define specifically what 'consciousness' is in relation to your argument. I do have my own definition of consciousness that would agree with your argument, but I'm curious about what you think consciousness is. I'm pretty sure it's not as stringent as my own.
I'll give you my conception of what consciousness is. I'd also like to hear yours.
On a universal scale I think that information precedes matter. Information is more fundamental as it is possible to imagine a universe without matter, but not one without information. We generally think that information emerges from the dynamic relations of matter in space-time, but really I think the reverse is the case. In this view, matter is a stable configuration of information that you can imagine as being stuck in a loop, partially susceptible to perturbations. However, importantly, its existence is no more real than other forms of information, only more stable, substantial, and less complex.
The brain attempts to model these configurations of information and in doing so, replicate their essential structure. When the brain creates such models, it reduces a system's informational complexity down to essential dynamics, where they become substantial and stable representations. These forms of information, like matter, can be conserved over time due to the storage capability of the brain and the hierarchical loops that allow their instantiation to persist. Unlike matter, the exotic and high dimensional representations of brain models offer more complex informational structures to matter and thus have many different qualities. However, their existence is assured by the same mechanism, only one is ontologically objective, the other ontologically subjective.
In relation to the original argument, the thalamocortical loop is the foundational loop for integrating bottom up and top down information in the brain. This loop is generally agreed to be necessary for consciousness, and much of neuroscientific research into consciousness analyses this and related circuits. The thalamocortical loop is very late to develop, not being developed with substantial connectivity until late into the second trimester. Therefore, I believe no significant consciousness is possible up until this point.