Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Consciousness and the Biology of the Brain: conversation with Christof Koch, Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology at Caltech, March 24, 2006, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. book coverOur guest today is Christof Koch, who is the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology at Caltech, and the author most recently of The Quest for Consciousness. He is on the Berkeley campus to give the Foerster Lecture on the Immortality of the Soul.

  1. Background ... diplomat parents ... citizen of the world ... close family ties ... early interest in science ... how biology is different ... patience and risk
  2. Neurobiology ... working with Francis Crick ... a framework for asking the questions ... definition of consciousness ... the "zombie" brain ... technological breakthroughs ... neuronal correlate of consciousness ... analogy to a democracy
  3. Visual Consciousness ... using MRI techology ... coalitions and competition in neurons
  4. More Thoughts on Consciousness ... seeking a measure ... babies, fetuses, patients in coma ... extending the "magic circle" of respect ... animals ... the illusion of the homunculus ... the "movie" illusion of motion ... filling in the blind spot ... discoveries from disease and injury
  5. Cutting-Edge Science ... questioning our ability to know ... convergence of disciplines and technologies ... scientific golden age ... shorter-term benefits, long-term vision ... broadening our compassion ... spiritual questions
  6. Conclusion ... compassion ... how the public can keep up-to-date ... fundamental life questions


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