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Christof Koch Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology

California Institute of Technology

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Christof Koch is a neuroscientist specializing in determining how consciousness is linked to specific activity in the brain. He believes that consciousness can be entirely explained scientifically, and is active in discovering the objective brain mechanisms—what he calls the neural correlates of consciousness—that underlie subjective human experiences. This new field of inquiry offers with it the possibility of moving the study of the mind beyond philosophical conceptions and into the realm of concrete physical data. As he puts it, “the great thing is we’re not condemned to just sort of philosophical speculation, but we can make some predictions, and then go out and measure them.” Calling himself a “romantic reductionist,” Koch believes that consciousness arises from the biology of the brain, while still holding the view that life is inherently meaningful.

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