Adaptation and Utility

Consciousness is too expensive not to serve some adaptive purpose. It is probably not some epiphenomenal accident. However, that consciousness serves some purpose does not mean it is utilitarian in the sense that most people would mean. The peacock’s tale is a response to something evolutionarily (it is an example of Fisherian runaway), but it is not useful — in fact, it hampers the bird. Many times, I wonder if consciousness itself is not somewhere on this spectrum.