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Publisher's Summary

What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bio-electrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience.
This engaging book - part scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation - describes Koch's search for an empirical explanation for consciousness. Koch recounts not only the birth of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest - his instinctual (if not romantic) belief that life is meaningful.
Koch describes his own groundbreaking work with Francis Crick in the 1990s and 2000s and the gradual emergence of consciousness (once considered a fringy subject) as a legitimate topic for scientific investigation.
Koch gives us stories from the front lines of modern research into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as his own reflections on a variety of topics. All are signposts in the pursuit of his life's work - to uncover the roots of consciousness.
CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title published by The MIT Press.
“I loved every minute of it.” - Nature
“Science writing at its best.” - Times Higher Education
“Destined to takes its place as a timeless masterpiece in the history of science.” - Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine
©2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Philomath on 12-27-17

Hard science and consciousness brought closer

Christof Koch is in the hardcore science of Biophysics and Neural correlates of consciousness, subjects that are at the forefront of empirical brain science.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see some philosophy, and dare I say a touch of what some might call, beyond the known. This could be because it is very hard to speak about consciousness with dabbling with the "Hard Problem" of Qualia.

I found this book enlightening with some unique hypothesis that did not shy away from the subjective experience and how science might tackle this issue.

This together with a bit of autobiography creates a well rounded and enjoyable book, with a humbling experience as to how little we know, recommended for those who are interested in knowing how hard is the Hard Problem of consciousness.

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