Consciousness and Its Place in Nature

The Psychology Department has informed me of an upcoming seminar that should interest anyone who pays attention to the inner workings of their mind, and, naturally, all meditators. The lecture is called “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature” and will be offered by Christof Koch, Ph.D on Wed, Nov. 14, 7 pm, Psych 105.

Full details about this event as provided by the Psychology Department follow:

Christof Koch, PhD, chief scientist and president at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, will speak about how human and non-human animals not only act in the world but are capable of conscious experience. He will discuss the empirical progress that has been achieved over the past several decades in locating the footprints of consciousness to the posterior part of cortex, which is located at the back of the brain.

Dr. Koch will introduce Integrated Information Theory (IIT), which explains in a principled manner which physical systems are capable of conscious, subjective experience. The theory explains many biological and medical facts about consciousness and has been used to build a consciousness meter to assess the presence of consciousness in neurological patients. IIT also predicts that consciousness is much more widespread in biology than is assumed in the Western canon, and that conventional digital computers cannot be conscious, even if they were to perfectly simulate a human brain. Consciousness does not arise as a form of computation but as a causal power.