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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 14, Issue 2, Autumn 2009

Irina-Gabriela Buda
Pages 329-342
DOI: 10.5840/forphil20091429

Consciousness and Evolution

I analyse some of the key evolutionary issues that arise in the study of consciousness from a bio-philosophical point of view. They all seem to be related to the fact that phenomenality has a special status: it is a very complex feature, apparently more than biological, it is hard to define because of the plurality of its displays (cognition, various emotions, other complex functions such as vision) and it is difficult to study with classic evolutionary tools (such as philogenetics or paleoanthropology). Giving an answer to the question „is consciousness an adaptive trait?” thus seems to be very difficult and this paper intends to sketch some of the problems we should be concerned with when studying phenomenality as an adaptation.