Today I saw a car exit a freeway and immediately reenter the freeway going in the opposite direction.
This seemed a bit unusual and I mused on some possible reasons:
That we come to believe things during periods of time in which we are not acquiring sensory data that are relevant to those things is remarkable.
Perhaps no other animal does this.
This activity of ‘putting two and two together’ often proceeds in conjunction with new sensory input, but it can proceed based on already acquired beliefs.
I will call such events “realizations” here.
- Missing the previous freeway exit thru inattention,
- A cell phone call causing a change of destination,
- A deduction of a fact bearing on the destination.
I think no ‘qualia’ are involved in such processes, unless awareness of ones thoughts counts as qualia.
I include such processing under the consciousness category.
Some might say that realizations may be subconscious, but that is not my subjective experience.
When I have such realizations I can often give arguments that support the new belief.
This would tend to draw a line between realizations and hunches.
Perhaps hunches arise from some unconscious analog to putting two and two together.
This is a plausible evolutionary advantage to consciousness if it allows one to find the words to convince another, who shares some of the same original beliefs, of the new deduction.
There is an implicit idea here that we speak only of what we are conscious.
This makes a large bundle of belief, logic, deduction, consciousness and language.
- We accumulate beliefs, consciously and unconsciously.
- We mix and match these beliefs as time allows.
- We consciously observe interesting hypotheses, making note of beliefs relevant to such hypotheses.
- We are able to put into words deductions of new propositions which may become beliefs and these words may guide others to the same deductions.