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The Question

You, the two of us, the editor of this volume, Plato, Darwin, our neighbors -- we have all not only been conscious, but we have also at some point decided to go on living in large part in order to continue to be conscious (of that rich chocolate ice cream, that lover's tender touch, the glorious feeling of ``Eureka!" when that theorem is finally cracked3). For us, consciousness is, to put it barbarically, a big deal. Is it for evolution? Apparently; after all, we evolved. But

Q1
Why did evolution bother to give us consciousness?

In this paper we refine this question, and then proceed to give what we see as the only sort of satisfactory answer: one which appeals to the intimate connection between consciousness and creativity. Because we both confess to a deep-seated inclination to abide by the dictum ``If you can't build it, you don't understand it," we end by relating our answer to Q1 to two radically different attempts at engineering artificial creativity in our laboratory, the second of which -- arguably the more promising one -- is evolutionary in nature.


next up previous
Next: Taming the Mongrel Up: Why Did Evolution Engineer Previous: Why Did Evolution Engineer
Selmer Bringsjord
2000-03-13