Julian Jaynes (Re: JOIN: Olie NcLean)

From: Phil Goetz (philgoetz@yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Sep 01 2005 - 10:02:58 MDT

--- Olie Lamb <olie@vaporate.com> wrote:

> * Consciousness as a characteristic has not only recently been
> acquired by humanity. Consciousness extends to a number of
> organisms, not all of whom regularly utilise language.

That reminds me. Could anybody comment on "The Origin of
Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by
Julian Jaynes? Its basic proposition is that humans became
conscious only in the last 2 or 3 thousand years,
and religion was started by people hearing
"voices in their head" as they gained
consciousness, or before these different voices were
integrated into one conscious mind, or something like that.

Sounds utterly nutty. But the book has been famous
for decades, and I read a couple of chapters,
and there were a lot of interesting and insightful
observations, none of which I can recall at this moment.

I don't believe I will become convinced of its main
thesis, but perhaps there's enough interesting ideas
in the book to read it. Has anyone here read it?

- Phil

PS - My use of "here" to refer to an association that
has no spatial component is an example of why it isn't
meaningful to speak of a "Bayesian approach to AI".
The hard problems of AI, like resolving that "here",
have nothing to do with Bayesian inference. Carrying
out Bayesian decision-making is trivial, compared to
the far less trivial process of producing the
set of possibilities and their probabilities.
But that's a subject for a different post.

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