What follows in the article is a list of diseases like schizophrenia and conditions such as split brain. This is a lost opportunity to address this phenomenon inside the “normal” brain: Our brains are a substrate for ideas, that’s what the hierarchical agency model as well as observational data really imply. There is multi-tennancy, but these ideas are also both cross-fertilizing and competing with each other. Ideas, or concepts, form an interactive web that very much reflects the architecture of the brain itself.
One glaringly obvious example for these concepts would be religion, another one is tool use, or communication (not only as a means to coordinate with other individuals but also a vector to serialize and exchange code for ideas), as well concepts like rationalism and art.
That’s what science fiction writers call memes, and I think they’re on to something there.
Without resource contention, there’s no need for selfishness. And this is, in part, why computers are less flexible and adaptable — less plastic — than brains
I never understood why Dennet et al always say this. Computers merely provide the fabric of computation in the same way biochemistry provides the fabric of neural computation. The informatics discipline that takes most liberal inspirations from biological systems is artificial intelligence – an intellectual framework concerned with nothing but the rules and principles of resource contention and how these techniques apply to equation solving.
Lastly I think selfishness is a really bad word for this organizing principle. I get why they chose to use it, because it’s catchy. But it’s not actually a good term for scientific description (I blame Professor Dawkins for making it acceptable in popular science literature). A better word would be eagerness, because it more accurately describes what’s going on without anthropomorphizing the behavior, and eagerness also more accurately reflects situations where components parts – although eager for resources – subjugate themselves for the benefit of the whole.
A population of truly selfish components doesn’t survive for long.