Mallatt, Jon and Feinberg, Todd E. (2017) Consciousness is not inherent in but emergent from life. Animal Sentience 11(15)
Arthur S. Reber, Caterpillars, consciousness and the origins of mind
Reber’s theory of the cellular basis of consciousness (CBC) is right to emphasize that we should study consciousness (sentience) in its simplest form, taking its evolution into account. However, not enough evidence is presented to support CBC’s unorthodox claim that even simple, one-celled organisms are conscious. As pointed out by other commentators, the CBC seems to be based on outdated ideas about evolution and does not acknowledge that consciousness could be an evolutionary novel feature. Such emergent features are abundant in living organisms. We review our own emergentist solution, in which consciousness evolved in the elaborating nervous systems of the first vertebrates and arthropods.