Why did humans/animals evolve to become self-aware of their own thoughts. That is, why don't humans act and compute like a machine, or walking zombie. In my mind, such creatures would still be as smart and equally capable of surviving, the only difference being they don't experience the phenomenon of self-awareness. (To understand my question think: unconsciously sleep walking)
There have been many proposals over the years as to why human consciousness has emerged and how, or even what it is.
Most of us will not be surprised to know that there is no consensus about an answer here. Its hard to draw a trend from a single example.
Here is a little survey of the one's I've heard.
These theories, from when I was a student are so discounted now, you can't find too much record of anymore since they were pre-internet and also they seem so unlikely now.
More modern theories have locked onto social configurations of human societies which drive intelligent adaptations. This is stemming from observations that human evolution (the rate at which genetic variants are retained in the gene pool) are accelerating since humans have become social.
These new theories while standing on some amazing evidence are still feeling around in the dark - stuff about how social interactions have created a preference for intelligence-like traits. There is probably something to that - once intelligence gets a toehold it is a clear advantage. But how did it show up only once and why us? I think that's the hard part that science has, for the moment, given a rest.
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