The Origin of Consciousness: The Natural Selection of Choice-Making Systems

The Origin of Consciousness: The Natural Selection of Choice-Making Systems

by Mark Friedman


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To understand the origin of consciousness, we need to be able to answer a surprisingly simple question: "What biological function, present throughout evolutionary history, could have evolved to become consciousness?" One possible answer to this question is "choice-making." All life forms make choices. And choice-making systems have evolved in the same way that visible physical features have evolved. This book traces choice-making from the relatively simple chemically automated systems of early single-cell life forms to the complex neurological systems we see in humans and other modern animals. It makes the case that consciousness is a form of complex choice-making that derives from this evolutionary history. Recognizing consciousness as a form of choice-making opens new possibilities for the study and understanding of how consciousness actually works.

In The Origin of Consciousness, Mark brings a fresh perspective to a field weighted down by centuries of arcane and circular argument. If you have gotten lost in this thicket, or just given up on consciousness as an unsolvable mystery, you will enjoy this new approach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479268153
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/14/2012
Pages: 54
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.11(d)

About the Author

Mark Friedman is best known for his groundbreaking book "Trying Hard Is Not Good Enough: How to Produce Measurable Improvements for Customers and Communities." (2005, 2015), available on His innovative approaches to social change and organizational performance are used around the world. Mark Friedman is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, DC. He holds a B.A. in mathematics from Lehigh University.

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