At a conference on Free Will in Barcelona in 2010, Martin Heisenberg asked if I could develop proposals for evolutionary steps between his
bacterial level and the human levels of free will. I decided to regard them as levels of consciousness about experiences in
the Experience Recorder and Reproducer
- by animals with little or no
learning capability. Automatic reactions to environmental conditions are transmitted genetically. Information about past experiences (by prior generations of the organism) is only present implicitly
in the inherited reactions. (Konrad Lorenz- “What’s a priori in the phenotype was a posteriori in the genotype.”)
- for animals whose past experiences
guide current choices (along with inherited experience). Conscious, but mostly habitual, reactions are developed through experience, including instruction by parents and peers.
- A sequencer in the ERR system
can play back beyond the current situation, allowing the organism
to use imagination and foresight to evaluate the future
consequences of its possible choices.
Reflective (Normative) Consciousness
– in which conscious
deliberation about individual values and the shared values of the species influences the choice of alternative behaviors.