A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious - Wired Science
It’s a question that’s perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery. Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. “The electric charge of an electron doesn’t arise out of more elemental properties. What Koch proposes is a scientifically refined version of an ancient philosophical doctrine called panpsychism — and, coming from someone else, it might sound more like spirituality than science. WIRED: How did you come to believe in panpsychism? Christof Koch: I grew up Roman Catholic, and also grew up with a dog. Koch: That’s true.
Related: Neuroscience & Consciousness