Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT. Apr. 2012. c.184p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780262017497. $24.95. SCI
Part memoir and part hard science, this latest by Koch (cognitive & behavioral biology, Caltech; The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach) describes how psychology, physics, and neurosurgery have contributed to the modern understanding of consciousness and unconsciousness. Koch discusses his work with the late Francis Crick, codiscoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule, with whom he collaborated on locating the neural correlates of consciousness. Crick had a profound influence on Koch professionally, as a mentor, and personally, as a friend. Koch also shares his personal views on the differences between attention and awareness, the biology and physics of free will, and the unconscious. Included as well are descriptions of research studies on the neurobiology of consciousness, plus an extensive list of references.
VERDICT Although some background in science would be helpful, none is necessary to read this book; Koch explains scientific phenomena in lay terms. An enlightening scientific memoir in which the author reveals his personal struggles as he attempts to uncover the truth about consciousness.
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