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Research output: Working paper


This paper discusses the evolutionary function of certain advanced aspects of cognition, like planning, self-awareness, and free will. The inner environment of an agent consists of all representations which the agent can actively "think about". A distinction is made between immediate planning, where plans are made for present needs, and anticipatory planning, where future needs are predicted. Humans seem to be the only animals capable of anticipatory planning, which puts us in a particular predicament. The evolution of self-consciousness is outlined as a series of steps. The first is when other agents are seen as having an inner environment of their own. This is when deception becomes possible. A further step is when the agent realizes that the other agents' representations of the external world includes a representation of the inner environment of the agent itself. The agent can then become self-conscious since it can form representations of its own representations. Free will can be seen as the capacity to represent one's own will, which then makes it possible to "choose" the will one wants. The evollutionary perspective on free will is compared to some ideas found in Kirkegaard and Dostoyevsky


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Learning


  • Cognitive Studies
Original languageSwedish
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1101-8453