Annual Lecture Series (in-person)
Lunchtime Talks (in-person)
- This event has passed.
LTT: W.T. Fitch
September 10, 2021 @ 12:10 pm - 1:30 pm EDT
Evolutionary Functions of Consciousness
W Tecumseh Fitch, Dept of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austria
ABSTRACT: Recent scientific discussions of consciousness have been dominated by the search for the neural correlates of consciousness and/or philosophical debates concerning the so-called “Hard Problem” – why should conscious cognitive states have a phenomenal, subjective component? Many of these discussions seemed to have reached an impasse. I will suggest that an evolutionary approach – asking for what adaptive function(s) consciousness serves – offers a fruitful way forward. Although there are several hypotheses currently on offer, which I will briefly review, I will suggest that these leave unanswered a core question – why, in a highly parallel brain, should consciousness have the phenomenal quality of being serial and sequential? I have proposed a computational function of consciousness that I believe can explain this unity, and will describe it in this talk.
You have the option to attend in person, watch a YouTube livestream, or watch through Zoom.
The Zoom registration link is: https://pitt.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2LjTZDtUTBKVS-Qc61BLZA
Please Note: Non-Pitt individuals who want to attend our in-person talks must send an email in advance to Katie Labuda (firstname.lastname@example.org) requesting Guest Building Access, or you will not be able to enter the Cathedral of Learning.