Varieties of evolved forms of consciousness, including mathematical consciousness

Aaron Sloman

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Biosciences) on the Meta-Configured Genome (MCG) theory. All known forms of consciousness (apart from recent very simple AI forms) are products of biological evolution, in some cases augmented by products of social, or technological evolution. Forms of consciousness differ between organisms with different sensory mechanisms, needs and abilities; and in complex animals can vary across different stages of development before and after birth or hatching or pupation, and before or after sexual and other kinds of maturity (or senility). Those forms can differ across individuals with different natural talents and environments, some with and some without fully functional sense organs or motor control functions (in humans: hearing, sight, touch, taste, smell, proprioception and other senses), along with mechanisms supporting meta-cognitive functions such as recollection, expectation, foreboding, error correction, and so forth, and varying forms of conscious control differing partly because of physical differences, such as conjoined twins sharing body parts. Forms of consciousness can also differ across individuals in different cultures with different shared theories, and social practices (e.g., art-forms, musical traditions, religions, etc.). There are many unanswered questions about such varieties of consciousness in products of biological evolution. Most of the details are completely ignored by most philosophers and scientists who focus only on a small subset of types of human consciousness—resulting in shallow theories. Immanuel Kant was deeper than most, though his insights, especially insights into mathematical consciousness tend to be ignored by recent philosophers and scientists, for bad reasons. This paper, partly inspired by Turing’s 1952 paper on chemistry-based morphogenesis, supporting William James’ observation that all known forms of consciousness must have been products of biological evolution in combination with other influences, attempts to provide (still tentative and incomplete) foundations for a proper study of the variety of biological and non-biological forms of consciousness, including the types of mathematical consciousness identified by Kant in 1781.
Original languageEnglish
Article number615
Number of pages19
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Models of Consciousness


  • AI
  • Immanuel Kant
  • meta-configured genome
  • altricial/precocial
  • biological evolution
  • development
  • internal languages
  • mathematical consciousness
  • robotic consciousness
  • spatial awareness
  • varieties of consciousness


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