•  22
    Representing oneself as an existing entity and having intense fear of the unknown are human specificities. Self-consciousness and anxiety states are characteristics of our human minds. We propose that these two characteristics share a common evolutionary history during which they acted in synergy for the build-up of our human minds. We present that perspective by using an evolutionary scenario for self-consciousness in which anxiety management plays a key role. Such evolutionary background can …Read more
  •  40
    The performance of reflectivity of self-consciousness is traditionally associated to the subject turning its consciousness of objects to its own entity. But such process introduces concerns of circularity and of infinite regress. To avoid them philosophers have postulated a “pre-reflective self-consciousness” understood as a “state of consciousness that is immediately aware of itself, unmediated by reflections”. We propose here that an evolutionary scenario for self-consciousness can introduce r…Read more
  •  42
    The relations between life and cogntion have been addressed through different perspectives [Stewart 1996, Boden 2001, Bourgine and Stewart 2004, van Duijn & all 2006, Di Paolo 2009]. We would like here to address that subject by relating life to cognition through a process of meaning generation. Life emerged on earth as a far from thermodynamic equilibrium performance that had to maintain herself. Life is charactertized by a ‘stay alive’ constraint that has to be satisfied (such constraint can b…Read more
  •  247
    Information and meaning are present everywhere around us and within ourselves. Specific studies have been implemented to link information and meaning (Linguistic, Biosemiotic, Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Artificial Intelligence... ). No general coverage is available for the notion of meaning. We propose to complement this lack by a system approach to meaning generation in an evolutionary background. That short paper is a summary of the system approach where a Meaning Generator System (MG…Read more
  •  34
    Humans are cognitive entities. Our ongoing interactions with the environment are threaded with creations and usages of meaningful information. Animal life is also populated with meaningful information related to survival constraints. Information managed by artificial agents can also be considered as having meanings, as derived from the designer. Such perspective brings us to propose an evolutionary approach to cognition based on meaningful information management. We use a systemic tool, the Mean…Read more
  •  171
    This presentation is about an evolutionary scenario for self-consciousness linked to a human specific anxiety. It is a continuation of other works (2011 Book chapter, 2014 TSC Poster). AIM: Present a scenario describing an evolutionary nature of self-consciousness that introduces a human specific anxiety which is active in our human lives. METHOD: The scenario starts with our pre-human ancestors which were capable to manage representations and to partly identify with their conspecifics (Olds 20…Read more
  •  107
    Theories have been formulated to address the problem of evil [“The concept of Evil”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]. We look here at a possible origin of human evil in pre-human times by using an evolutionary scenario for self-consciousness based on identifications with conspecifics [“Proposal for an evolutionary approach to self-consciousness”. Menant 2014]. The key point is that these identifications have also taken place with suffering or endangered conspecifics, thus creating in the mi…Read more
  •  142
    Anxiety is a main contributor to human psychological sufferings. Its evolutionary sources are generally related to alert signals for coping with adverse or unexpected situations [Steiner, 2002] or to hunter-gatherer emotions mismatched with today environments [Horwitz & Wakefield, 2012]. We propose here another evolutionary perspective that links human anxiety to an evolutionary nature of self-consciousness. That approach introduces new relations between mental health and human mind. The propo…Read more
  •  171
    Meanings are present everywhere in our environment and within ourselves. But these meanings do not exist by themselves. They are associated to information and have to be created, to be generated by agents. The Meaning Generator System (MGS) has been developed on a system approach to model meaning generation in agents following an evolutionary perspective. The agents can be natural or artificial. The MGS generates meaningful information (a meaning) when it receives information that has a connecti…Read more
  •  306
    The presentation proposes to complement an existing development on meaning generation for animals, humans and artificial agents by looking at what could have existed at pre-biotic times and what could be a post-human meaning generation. The core of the approach is based on an existing model for meaning generation: the Meaning Generator System (MGS). The MGS is part of an agent submitted to an internal constraint. The MGS generates a meaning when it receives an information that has a connection w…Read more
  •  186
    Information and meaning exist around us and within ourselves, and the same information can correspond to different meanings. This is true for humans and animals, and is becoming true for robots. We propose here an overview of this subject by using a systemic tool related to meaning generation that has already been published (C. Menant, Entropy 2003). The Meaning Generator System (MGS) is a system submitted to a constraint that generates a meaningful information when it receives an incident infor…Read more
  •  368
    First-person and third-person perspectives are different items of human consciousness. Feeling the taste of a fruit or being consciously part of a group eating fruits call for different perspectives of consciousness. The latter is about objective reality (third-person data). The former is about subjective experience (first-person data) and cannot be described entirely by objective reality. We propose to look at how these two perspectives could be rooted in an evolutionary origin of human conscio…Read more
  •  171
    Current research on artificial consciousness is focused on phenomenal consciousness and on functional consciousness. We propose to shift the focus to self-consciousness in order to open new areas of investigation. We use an existing scenario where self-consciousness is considered as the result of an evolution of representations. Application of the scenario to the possible build up of a conscious robot also introduces questions relative to emotions in robots. Areas of investigation are proposed a…Read more
  •  148
    It is agreed by most people that self-consciousness is the result of an evolutionary process, and that representations may have played an important role in that process. We would like to propose here that some evolutionary stages can highlight links existing between representations and the notion of self, opening a possible path to the nature of self-consciousness. Our starting point is to focus on representations as usage oriented items for the subject that carries them. These representations a…Read more
  •  334
    It is pretty obvious to most of us that self-consciousness is a product of evolution. But its nature is unknown. We propose here a scenario addressing a possible evolutionary nature of self-consciousness covering the segment linking pre-human primates to humans. The scenario is based on evolutions of representations and of inter-subjectivity that could have taken place within the minds of our pre-human ancestors . We begin by situating self-consciousness relatively to other aspects of human cons…Read more
  •  554
    Turing Test, Chinese Room Argument, Symbol Grounding Problem. Meanings in Artificial Agents (APA 2013)
    American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 13 (1): 30-34. 2013.
    The Turing Test (TT), the Chinese Room Argument (CRA), and the Symbol Grounding Problem (SGP) are about the question “can machines think?” We propose to look at these approaches to Artificial Intelligence (AI) by showing that they all address the possibility for Artificial Agents (AAs) to generate meaningful information (meanings) as we humans do. The initial question about thinking machines is then reformulated into “can AAs generate meanings like humans do?” We correspondingly present the TT, …Read more
  •  205
    Information and meaning (Entropy 2003)
    Entropy 5 193-204. 2003.
    We propose here to clarify some of the relations existing between information and meaning by showing how meaningful information can be generated by a system submitted to a constraint. We build up definitions and properties for meaningful information, a meaning generator system and the domain of efficiency of a meaning (to cover cases of meaningful information transmission). Basic notions of information processing are used.
  •  245
    Self-consciousness is a product of evolution. Few people today disagree with the evolutionary history of humans. But the nature of self-consciousness is still to be explained, and the story of evolution has rarely been used as a framework for studies on consciousness during the 20th century. This last point may be due to the fact that modern study of consciousness came up at a time where dominant philosophical movements were not in favor of evolutionist theories (Cunningham 1996). Research on co…Read more
  •  414
    We humans experience ourselves as objects and as subjects. The distinction initiated by Kant between consciousness of oneself as object and consciousness of oneself as subject was a strict one. The rigidity of that distinction has been challenged by philosophers from the continental and the analytic traditions [1]. From another perspective, researches about animal self-awareness are widening the horizon of studies relative to the nature of self-consciousness [2]. These various perspectives intro…Read more
  •  167
    It is pretty obvious that language and human consciousness entertain tight relations. We could not really be conscious of ourselves without the possibility to say “I” or “me”. And language is a key contributor in our capability to identify ourselves as conscious entities existing in the environment. But the relations linking language and consciousness are complex and difficult to analyze. Evolutionary origins of language are unknown as no fossil traces have been left by our ancestors. Sciences o…Read more
  •  176
    The notion of representation is at the foundation of cognitive sciences and is used in theories of mind and consciousness. Other notions like ‘embodiment’, 'intentionality‘, 'guidance theory' or ‘biosemantics’ have been associated to the notion of representation to introduce its functional aspect. We would like to propose here that a conception of 'usage related' representation eases its positioning in an evolutionary context, and opens new areas of investigation toward self-representation and s…Read more
  •  503
    The management of meaningful information by biological entities is at the core of biosemiotics [Hoffmeyer 2010]. Intentionality, the ‘aboutness’ of mental states, is a key driver in philosophy of mind. Philosophers have been reluctant to use intentionality for non human animals. Some biologists have been in favor of it. J. Hoffmeyer has been using evolutionary intentionality and Peircean semiotics to discuss a biosemiotic approach to the problem of intentionality [Hoffmeyer 1996, 2012]. Also, re…Read more
  •  524
    Information and Meaning are present everywhere around us and within ourselves. Specific studies have been implemented in order to link information and meaning: - Semiotics - Phenomenology - Analytic Philosophy - Psychology No general coverage is available for the notion of meaning. We propose to complement this lack by a systemic approach to meaning generation.
  •  190
    Evolutionary advantages of consciousness and intersubjectivity are part of current philosophical debates on the nature of consciousness. Both are linked and intersubjectivity is sometimes considered as a form of consciousness [1]. Regarding the evolution of consciousness, studies tend to focus on phenomenal consciousness [2]. We would like here to bring the focus on self-consciousness and continue the build up of a corresponding evolutionary scenario. We also propose to introduce a possible evol…Read more
  •  207
    Biosemiotics deal with the study of signs and meanings in living entities. Constructivism considers human knowledge as internally constructed by sense making rather than passively reflecting a pre-existing reality. Consequently, a constructivist perspective on biosemiotics leads to look at an internal active construction of meaning in living entities from basic life to humans. That subject is addressed with an existing tool: the Meaning Generator System (MGS) which is a system submitted to an i…Read more
  •  162
    The question about evolution of consciousness has been addressed so far as possible selectional advantage related to consciousness ("What evolutionary advantages, if any, being conscious might confer on an organism ? "). But evidencing an adaptative explanation of consciousness has proven to be very difficult. Reason for that being the complexity of consciousness. We take here a different approach on subject by looking at possible selectional advantages related to the performance of Self Awarene…Read more
  •  103
    Biosemiotics and Semiotics have similarities and differences. Both deal with signal and meaning. One difference is that Biosemiotics covers a domain (life) that is less complex that the one addressed by Semiotics (human). We believe that this difference can be used to have Biosemiotics bringing added value to Semiotics. This belief is based on the fact that a theory of meaning is easier to build up for living elements than for humans, and that the results obtained for life can make available som…Read more
  •  449
    Computation on Information, Meaning and Representations. An Evolutionary Approach (World Scientific 2011)
    In Dodig-Crnkovic, Gordana & Mark Burgin (eds.), Information and Computation, World Scientific. pp. 255-286. 2011.
    Understanding computation as “a process of the dynamic change of information” brings to look at the different types of computation and information. Computation of information does not exist alone by itself but is to be considered as part of a system that uses it for some given purpose. Information can be meaningless like a thunderstorm noise, it can be meaningful like an alert signal, or like the representation of a desired food. A thunderstorm noise participates to the generation of meaningful …Read more
  •  328
    Information and Meaning are present everywhere around us and within ourselves. Specific studies have been implemented in order to link information and meaning: - Semiotics - Phenomenology - Analytic Philosophy - Psychology No general coverage is available for the notion of meaning. We propose to complement this lack by a systemic approach to meaning generation
  •  86
    In this paper, we use the Meaning Generator System (MGS) presented at Gathering in Biosemiotics 2 [1] to analyse the evolution of meaningful information generation through different steps of the evolution of life. Taking as a starting point the usage of MGS for vital constraint satisfaction in basic life (paramecium), we develop its application for more complex living elements up to the case of non-human primate. The thread we follow is relative to the identification of new constraints that can …Read more