Monday, April 30, 2007
Consciousness as a Positive Feedback Loop
In Hofstadter's new book, I am a Strange Loop, consciousness is explained as a positive feedback loop. The Pulitzer Prize winning author, describes humans as evolved perceivers. As Simon Baron-Cohen explained in his seminal book, Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism, evolution has endowed us with the ability to read the minds of others. This mindreading ability allows us to perceive the emotions of others through their actions and facial expression and it is adaptive by allowing us to predict the behaviors of others. Hofstadter suggests that the illusion of consciousness emerges when we turn our perceptual mindreading abilities on ourselves. Thus, consciousness is nothing more than a positive feedback loop.