It appears to me after a brief thought, that you need multiple cells to send and coordinate messages in order to have "self awareness". Basically, you need some sort of centralized brain it seems. But maybe I'm wrong there, jellyfish don't have centralized brains right? And are they considered self-aware?

What about individual cells, can a cell be considered "aware of itself"? If so, in what ways, if not, why not? I know the definition of awareness is probably ill-defined, but maybe you can pinpoint a definition and say why cells either are or are not in within that definition.

Any research in this line of thinking to link to?

I guess a related question is, if cells do not have self-awareness, is when/where in the evolutionary chain does self-awareness arise?

Trees and sponges (and algae mats for example) are networks of multiple cells, but do they have awareness of themselves? I don't know. So maybe only after a certain degree of centralized brain then self-awareness emerges? Like I would say any mammal is self-aware, maybe lizards and fish too? Anything with eyes, but maybe that is because they seem somewhat human.

But then ChatGPT and AI throw into the question what self-awareness can really be like :)

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    $\begingroup$ See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness - It also seems you have a primarily philosophical question, rather than a biological one. People literally write entire books on this topic, as well, it does not seem to be scoped to something answerable in a StackExchange Q&A format. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 7 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ I agree this is philosophical... biologically based (imo) but argued by philosophers. One measure of self awareness is recognition of self in the mirror (pigs can do this, dogs and cats can't) but blind people are self aware. $\endgroup$ Aug 7 at 17:55


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