Brains, Programming Languages, Disconnected Enthusiasms

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Quest for Consciousness

What consciousness is Koch questing after? He purposefully and hastily redefines consciousness into something irreconcilable with the word's popular definition. To carve out a tractable research area Koch drained consciousness of its most interesting content. Into the bin of "extended consciousness" Koch places self-awareness, verbal thought and emotion; a category he then immediately discards and forgets. Isn't "sensory perception" a better more accurate term for the group of phenomena Koch calls "core consciousness"? Also, I have a problem with the claim "all the different aspects of consciousness...employ one or perhaps a few common mechanisms" (p.15). It seems to me that core consciousness is shallower (in terms of depth of computation) than extended consciousness. Isn't there a unidirectional flow of influence between conscious sensory perception and conscious verbal thought?

I think the strength of Koch's theories and frameworks is the lucidity with which he summarizes and rearranges the field of neuroscience. Lifted by his capable pen generalizations and trends are arising from the dataswamp of neurobiology.

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