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And I loved every minute of it.
Science writing at its best.
This new volume is attractive not only for the breadth and depth that is typical of
Koch's writing, but also for its highly accessible nature.... This important book serves as a subtle introduction to many of the driving questions of the discipline that may well significantly change people's understanding of human nature.
"…[D]efinitely worth reading…I argued with Koch all the way through this book. And I loved every minute of it." — Robert Stickgold,Nature
"Pioneering consciousness studies requires a nimbly multiprocessing mind. ThatKoch possesses one is apparent."- Chronicle of Higher Education
"Among the plethora of books on consciousness, this engaging blend of science,autobiography and honest self-reflection stands out. It combines a lucid description of the leading edge of consciousness science with a surprisingly personal and philosophical reflection of the author's life as one of its foremost authorities, shedding light on how scientists really think.
Science writing at its best."-Anil Seth, Times HigherEducation
"…[T]he book offers good rides through the wild forest of the neuroscience of consciousness. Koch is fearless, and does not shrink from talking about phenomenology and qualia; he includes them and tries to formalise consciousness by linking it to direct brain signals or well-defined psychological constructs."—Tristan Bekinschtein,TimesHigher Education
"This new volume is attractive not only for the breadth and depth that is typical ofKoch's writing, but also for its highly accessible nature…This important book serves as a subtle introduction to many of the driving questions of the discipline that may well significantly change people's understanding of human nature." — H. Storl,Choice
Chapter 1 In which I introduce the ancient mind-body problem, explain why I am on a quest to use reason and empirical inquiry to solve it, acquaint you with Francis Crick, explain how he relates to this quest, make a confession, and end on a sad note 1
Chapter 2 In which I write about the wellsprings of my inner conflict between religion and reason, why I grew up wanting to be a scientist, why I wear a lapel pin of Professor Calculus, and how I acquired a second mentor late in life 11
Chapter 3 In which I explain why consciousness challenges the scientific view of the world, how consciousness can be investigated empirically with both feet firmly planted on the ground, why animals share consciousness with humans, and why self-consciousness is not as important as many people think it is 23
Chapter 4 In which you hear tales of scientist-magicians that make you look but not see, how they track the footprints of consciousness by peering into your skull, why you don't see with your eyes, and why attention and consciousness are not the same 41
Chapter 5 In which you learn from neurologists and neurosurgeons that some neurons care a great deal about celebrities, that cutting the cerebral cortex in two does not reduce consciousness by half, that color is leached from the world by the loss of a small cortical region, and that the destruction of a sugar cube-sized chunk of brain stem or thalamic tissue leaves you undead 59
Chapter 6 In which I defend two propositions that my younger self found nonsense-you are unaware of most of the things that go on in your head, and zombie agents control much of your life, even though you confidently believe that you are in charge 75
Chapter 7 In which I throw caution to the wind, bring up free will, Der Ring des Nibelungen, and what physics says about determinism, explain the impoverished ability of your mind to choose, show that your will lags behind your brain's decision, and that freedom is just another word for feeling 91
Chapter 8 In which I argue that consciousness is a fundamental property of complex things, rhapsodize about integrated information theory, how it explains many puzzling facts about consciousness and provides a blueprint for building sentient machines 113
Chapter 9 In which I outline an electromagnetic gadget to measure consciousness, describe efforts to harness the power of genetic engineering to track consciousness in mice, and find myself building cortical observatories 137
Chapter 10 In which I muse about final matters considered off-limits to polite scientific discourse: to wit, the relationship between science and religion, the existence of God, whether this God can intervene in the universe, the death of my mentor, and my recent tribulations 149
Posted April 13, 2014
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 10, 2012
No text was provided for this review.