An Evolutionary Path to Consciousness – Premise
Thankfully for us, the modern theories that are put forth to explain consciousness try to be devoid of wishful thinking and flights of fancy, tending to stick to an impersonal and non otherworldly explanation to whatever is I.
Many of them however treat the question of self consciousness as exclusive to humans. If the honor is bestowed on other species like the dolphins, some birds and other primates, it is done so grudgingly, they need to pass more tests to be in the league. The human brain is (somehow) unique!
This placement on a pedestal has meant all kinds of mentalist theories to be put forth, many of them as otherworldly as the speculations of the ancients. Moreover it is hardly explained how such a premise passes the tenets of evolutionary theory, our most successful but perhaps most misunderstood theory.
We tend to argue that all kinds of consciousness, including human self consciousness ought to have co-evolved with life itself. This is our primary argument. That human self consciousness need not be delinked from the consciousness of other life forms; that its singular looking growth path can be understood as an organic outcome of the evolutionary path it had taken or was forced to take.
And that there is nothing special or grandiose about its origins, it was just one of many possible paths, not the pinnacle as it is usually made out to be. Our idea is not to dethrone human self consciousness, but to understand it in its proper evolutionary light.
For biology based consciousness theorists looking for neural correlates of consciousness, this approach could mean a complete reboot.
To study consciousness we do not really need humans as subjects, simpler life forms would do, the simplest would be the best. And most importantly, the physical correlates of consciousness need not be neural at all. Nerves after all are only an organizing structure of life, not its basis.
We believe that taking such a path realigns the study of consciousness with its biological roots and moves it away from the current trend of mentalist argument that the subject usually provokes.