WHY DO YOU WANT ANYTHING? — The neural basis for language, consciousness, and preference. — Choice without preference. ... [ Word Count: 1.200 ~ 6 PAGES | Revised: 2018.6.3 ]

in science •  22 days ago


Some evolutionary considerations about:

(1) why and (2) how the brain is able to choose.


— 〈  1  〉—

Analogy does not demonstrate truth. But it often puts you on the road to truth.

KIN11 is an interesting book in a sense hinting about why we might require preferences to be used in solving problems whose solution is not dependent on preferences.

I like how the author takes a problem in electrical engineering which he solved (KIN72, MEA80) and finds analogies.

We go from there. Analogy does not demonstrate . . . but it puts you on the road.

When a system can take one of several alternative actions, has little information to make select one of these alternatives, and not making a decision is also a null decision with outcomes about just as bad as making a wrong decision and failing to solve the problem, the system requires time to compute or acquire more information.

The less information which it has to decide upon, the more time it needs to gather or produce more information. A problem emerges when it must also make such decisions quickly: more quickly than it requires time to make the correct decision. Many asynchronous cases have interacting systems of the same type that must make any but different and quick decisions. Preferences being unstable and very different for slightly different systems all prevent interacting systems from hesitating too much or worse: getting stuck. And consciousness may be those preferences, plus the same metastable choice without preference mechanisms that must exist in any complex computing systems. Or may be a metastable choice without preference function that generates preferences.

Actors N and M each need to go L or R to avoid colliding and it helps that L has apples, which N likes, and R has oranges, which M likes, which are irrelevant to the problem. But for the same reason help solve the problem.

We so far observe that all highly encephalized organisms are social. But even in individual circumstance hesitation problems are common and affect system survival.

Which is another hypothesis (A) why greater encephalization was locked in.

The other one (B) is that greater consciousness is primarily useful for abstraction and general problem solving and general learning: so that, when small mutations brought it into existence, all that was locked in by natural selection (HUT94.2). Both can be independent reasons for the lock in.


— 〈  2  〉—

The usual counterargument is that (B) locks in only when encephalization is beyond a threshold that suddenly enables a minimal useful generalizing capacity. Small encephalization improvements would have to be linked to other small but survival improving variations until the threshold was reached, because generalization requires a minimal encephalization which would have been absent. Suggested benefits were cognitive or sexual selection, the same as for language, enabling language, for singing and greater mate attraction.

And only small variations can be counted on; the joint probability of many tiny positive variations is much greater than the probability of a large positive variation giving the same result. The joint probability of hitting the target with a thrown hatchet from one foot away two million times consecutively is much larger than twice hitting the same target from a distance of a hundred feet. And if on top of that every successful hit allows to to move closer to the target ... well ... then ... So, even if each variation is a developmental resource, and interacting and activating other variations to develop differently, giving even larger phenotype variations, even these were below threshold to affect survival probability, but only small encephalization improvements were likely, and the first couple million such improvements could not have been locked in within a population by (B). Which begs the question how (B).


— 〈  3  〉—

Some things must be done with high probability.

And some things must be done slowly if they are to be done with high probability.

But if encephalization leads to circuits that provide choice without preference and this assists survival or produce preference you get free will and greater survival. (A) may've locked in positive random small encephalization variations until they accumulated to produce (B). And the sexual selection argument, which is also a hypothesis about how language capability evolved, same issue as (B), that probability of survival and reproduction is made greater only by an above threshold complex language, combined with flexible and varied vocalization organs, whose tiny variations are neither positive nor negative to survival, is superfluous. (It may still be correct.)

The other argument that explains how small variations accumulated was that much of the brain is for processing imitation of grasping gestures and this led to languages, which was then further locked in by (B) (ARB03). This predisposition and cognitive ability to learn grasping from observing other members of the group had immediate survival benefits to primates and complements Darwin's sexual selection hypothesis as the neural basis for language readiness.

All the conjectures may be correct at once; and together may have produced language and preference and high cognitive ability. But any pair (A) and (B) are sufficient.


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I'm a scientist who writes fantasy and science fiction under various names.

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      Word count: 1.200 ~ 6 PAGES   |   Revised: 2018.6.3




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Somewhere at the very top of the text above I put a tag: — Revised: Date.

And I did that why? . . . Often I'll later significantly enlarge the text which I wrote.

Leave comments below, with suggestions.
              Points to discuss — as time permits.

Finished reading? Well, then, come back at a later time.

Meanwhile the length may've doubled . . . ¯\ _ (ツ) _ /¯ . . .

2018.6.3 — POSTED — WORDS: 1.200.


Maybe I'll never understand this things, the more I read about how the brain system functions the more I'm pulling into this feeling of nothingness. It's definitely beyond me or I'm just a lazy reader not paying attention to it's core detail. Whatever it is, I know you have written something of value here and I'll keep reading till I'll better understand!