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Christof Koch And The Theory Of Consciousness

3431 words - 14 pages

Consciousness was first described and introduced by Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche (Crick & Koch, 2001). It has been described as a realm of the mind that controls human behaviour. However consciousness is not accessible to conscious introspection, self-examination or a source of knowledge. On the contrary, Christof Koch, a neuroscientist collaborator of Francis Crick, describes unconsciousness as any neuronal activity that does not give rise to conscious sensation, thought or memory (Crick & Koch, 2001). Though unconsciousness differs in many different ways to consciousness, it works in a waking state that deals with cause and effect and the logical spontaneous processes in order to process information. On the contrary unconscious mind is associated with involuntary activities that form connections with thoughts, ideas and reflections, which unconsciousness also has the capability for multi-tasking. Therefore, as Koch explains, unconscious puts humans is an “online” mode, allowing us to override our instinctual ‘offline’ programming.
Scientists and philosophers have different understanding and explanations for consciousness, as it used to be observed from a philosophical point of view only. However, the advancement of technologies in understanding brain from a computational, bio-molecular and cognitive and behavioural approach, consciousness is being studied from a neuroscientific approach as well. Therefore neuroscientists have difficulties in verifying and understanding its existence, for example, Dennet believes consciousness is the evolved capacity for self-knowledge that gives us the subjective experience. Where as Francis Crick looks at from a completely neuroscientist view that one should look at Neural Correlates of Consciousness in order to understand the causal links of consciousness.
Although the purpose of consciousness is unclear so its existence, Koch has not found what consciousness exactly is (Crick & Koch, 2003). However, he believes in order to understand what consciousness exactly is, it has to be backed by empirical results and facts that the mental state of consciousness must be observed in its physiological processes (Koch, 2003). Therefore in order to understand the neural mechanisms of perception and behaviour it must be achieved by examining the brain. Therefore he refers to this process as Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC), where it constitutes of the minimum set of neuronal events that forms a complete conscious perception (Metzinger, 2001). The reason he refers to the minimal set of neurons is because, the brain gives rise to many different kinds of conscious experiences, but what he is trying to find is where the components are produced, in other words, he hopes to explain the NCC in its causal terms. Koch believes consciousness is unique and exclusive to the owner of the brain as it gives rise to the distinctive individual behaviour in every person. This would also explain why some neurones deal...

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