Subjective experience, language, and consciousness can be completely explained in terms of abilities we share with the simplest of creatures, specifically the ability to detect, react to, and associate (DRA) various aspects of the world. With these three innate abilities, an organism can begin to form de facto categories (some things are food or a mate; some aren't), develop expectations, and learn. We can see such capabilities in numerous other animals, but there is no need to assume at this point that they have any self-awareness or are anything more than a contiguous collection of chemical reactions, which happen, by evolutionary 'selection', to all work in a coordinated way to further 'their' collective survival. Thoughts are not yet 'about,' or 'directed toward,' anything. Intentionality is an interpretation in the eye of an observer and without language there isn't one. Communication learning, associations of certain sounds with certain DRA experiences, is seen in several animal species. Human language is different in degree but not kind. A language is not shared words/syntax, it is shared or, rather, convergent, experiences which are associated with those words/syntax and which give them their meaning. Just as a vervet monkey learns what to do and emit when it detects an eagle as opposed to a snake, a child learns which detections (hunger, color) to associate with the sounds such as 'I am hungry' or 'I see red.' As previous linguistic associations are applied to new experiences, children are capable of uttering intelligible phrases which they may have never heard before. An organism's subjective experience is also explained in terms of detection, reaction, association, and language. Consciousness--the information that an entity or monad can process about itself and the world--is a continuum with bacteria (or chemical reactions like rust) at one end and human self-awareness at the other.
For More Information: