Daniel C Dennett
Evolution embodies information in every part of every organism. ... This information doesn't have to be copied into the brain at all. It doesn't have to be "represented" in "data structures" in the nervous system. It can be exploited by the nervous system, however, which is designed to rely on, or exploit, the information in the hormonal systems just as it is designed to rely on, or exploit, the information embodied in your limbs and eyes. So there is wisdom, particularly about preferences, embodied in the rest of the body. By using the old bodily systems as a sort of sounding board, or reactive audience, or critic, the central nervous system can be guided - sometimes nudged, sometimes slammed - into wise policies. Put it to the vote of the body, in effect. ...
When all goes well, harmony reigns and the various sources of wisdom in the body cooperate for the benefit of the whole, but we are all too familiar with the conflicts that can provoke the curious outburst "My body has a mind of its own!" Sometimes, apparently, it is tempting to lump together some of the embodied information into a separate mind. Why? Because it is organized in such a way that it can sometimes make independent discriminations, consult preferences, make decisions, enact policies that are in competition with your mind. At such time, the Cartesian perspective of a puppeteer self trying desperately to control an unruly body-puppet is very powerful. Your body can vigorously betray the secrets you are desperately trying to keep - by blushing and trembling or sweating, to mention only the most obvious cases. It can "decide" that in spite of your well-laid plans, right now would be a good time for sex, not intellectual discussion, and then take embarrassing steps in preparation for a coup d'etat. On another occasion, to your even greater chagrin and frustration, it can turn a deaf ear on your own efforts to enlist it for a sexual campaign, forcing you to raise the volume, twirl the dials, try all manner of preposterous cajolings to persuade it.
Critics and Criticism
Politicians and Politics