In the Beginning
In the beginning was not the word; that much is clear. Not that the universe of the living was ever simple, quite the contrary. It was complex from its inception, four billion years ago. Life sailed forth without words or thoughts, without feelings or reasons, devoid of minds or consciousness. And yet living organisms sensed others like them and sensed their environments. By sensing I mean the detection of a “presence”—of another whole organism, of a molecule located on the surface of another organism or of a molecule secreted by another organism. Sensing is not perceiving, and it is not constructing a “pattern” based on something else to create a “representation” of that something else and produce an “image” in mind. On the other hand, sensing is the most elementary variety of cognition.
Feeling and Knowing: Making Minds Conscious