Consciousness as signal interpretation

Consciousness can be defined as “that which interprets signals” or “that which can discriminate and choose between signals.”

A single cell that can distinguish light and darkness and choose one or the other is conscious in this respect.

(I wonder if the choice needs to be “better” in some way, evolutionarily or even subjectively even if wrong. Seems that if most choices are bad, the chooser will not survive for long, yet in the interim could still be conscious.)

A dog that smells food has a more complex interpretation of many more signals than the single cell above. Additionally, the dog can choose between these signals, though not without confusion sometimes, just like us.

As humans we experience our consciousness in many ways. Few of us doubt its importance.

This makes sense based on the definition of consciousness as “that which interprets signals” or “that which can discriminate and choose between signals.”

It is emotional to be conscious in the sense that we must care about our decisions, our choices.

Surely that is much of the reason we have emotions. They are the chemistry that accompanies choices. Chemicals in the body are most definitely signals, very strong ones.

For more on this topic: Life is self-organizing signals.

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