Show Summary Details
Page of

date: 27 October 2021

p. 1178. The evolution of consciousnesslocked

p. 1178. The evolution of consciousnesslocked

  • Susan Blackmore


‘The evolution of consciousness’ begins with two questions. First, which living creatures are conscious and in what way? Secondly, when and how did consciousness evolve? Consciousness could be an all-or-nothing phenomenon, with some creatures having it and others not. Or it might be a continuous variable, with some having more than others. Different theories of evolution of consciousness are considered alongside the function of consciousness. Why are we conscious at all? Is consciousness an adaptation or a useless by-product of some other adaptation? It concludes with the suggestion that consciousness is an enticing and compelling illusion that lures us into believing that our minds are separate from our bodies.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.