To Christof Koch, chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, the answer to these questions may lie in the fabric of the universe itself. Consciousness, he believes, is an intrinsic property of matter, just like mass or energy. Organize matter in just the right way, as in the mammalian brain, and voilà, you can feel.
Koch, now 57, has spent nearly a quarter of a century trying to explain why, say, the sun feels warm on your face. But after writing three books on consciousness, Koch says researchers are still far from knowing why it occurs, or even agreeing on what it is. It’s a difficult problem (see “Cracking the Brain’s Codes”). That is one reason that Koch left his position at Caltech in 2011 to become part of a $500 million project launched by the billionaire Paul Allen, Microsoft’s cofounder.
The Allen Institute’s goal is to build a detailed atlas of every neuron and synapse in the mammalian brain. That would give neuroscience a firehose of data similar to what the Human Genome Project achieved.
But Koch hasn’t given up his search for a grand theory that could explain it all. In fact, he thinks consciousness could be explained by something called “integrated information theory,” which asserts that consciousness is a product of structures, like the brain, that can both store a large amount of information and have a critical density of interconnections between their parts.More.
So we have agreed that consciousness is related in some way to brains? Okay. Since you insist.
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One Reply to “Another grand theory to explain consciousness?”
ID love to see how he explains veridical,near death experiences since they occur when they have no brain activity and no heart beat . Koch would probably have a panic attack trying to explain them to us as part of the rain.
People like Koch are stuck an a soon to be outdated paradigm and still trying to force feed the data into that paradigm because he is too emotionally attached to it to actually do real,science .