What links conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. This engaging book -- part scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation -- describes Koch's search for an empirical explanation for consciousness. Koch recounts not only the birth (...) of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest -- his instinctual belief that life is meaningful. Koch describes his own groundbreaking work with Francis Crick in the 1990s and 2000s and the gradual emergence of consciousness as a legitimate topic for scientific investigation. Present at this paradigm shift were Koch and a handful of colleagues, including Ned Block, David Chalmers, Stanislas Dehaene, Giulio Tononi, Wolf Singer, and others. Aiding and abetting it were new techniques to listen in on the activity of individual nerve cells, clinical studies, and brain-imaging technologies that allowed safe and noninvasive study of the human brain in action. Koch gives us stories from the front lines of modern research into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as his own reflections on a variety of topics, including the distinction between attention and awareness, the unconscious, how neurons respond to Homer Simpson, the physics and biology of free will, dogs, _Der Ring des Nibelungen_, sentient machines, the loss of his belief in a personal God, and sadness. All of them are signposts in the pursuit of his life's work -- to uncover the roots of consciousness. (shrink)
Bioethics claimed to offer a set of generally applicable, universally accepted guidelines that would simplify complex situations. In Thieves of Virtue, Tom Koch argues that bioethics has failed to deliver on its promises.
Source: Author: Eldar Sultanow, Sean Cox, Sebastian Homann, Philipp Koch, Olliver Franke Mass media initiated exhibitions of information and knowledge streams account for a significant factor of opinion-forming in modern digitalized nations and thus influence their country's political development. Within the framework of a globalized environment, this information has the ability to shape worldwide opinion and international policy decisions across geographical boundaries. Similarly, however, information and knowledge that does not flow freely has an impact on the behind the scenes (...) decisions of world affairs. Selective manipulation, consumed through hidden channels, is therefore a powerful tool for shaping both social and organizational environments. Currently no classification approaches exist in order to identify and evaluate this type of manipulation. Therefore, this article will discuss this type of manipulative communication and align each category into an assessment model. Forty-two varieties of manipulative arguments will be identified as well as classified along three-dimensions. A model has been developed which will serve as a tool to identify the degree and at which level manipulation was performed. ]]>. (shrink)
In Knowledge and Social Construction Andrew Koch asks: how can we know the absolute best path through politics toward a better society? We can't. However, if our claims to social knowledge are more hypothetical in nature than absolute the resultant society will be more open.
In _Lectures on Ethics, 1900–1901_,_ _Donald F. Koch supplies the only extant complete transcription of the annual three-course sequence on ethics John Dewey gave at the University of Chicago. In his introduction Koch argues that these lectures offer the best systematic, overall introduction to Dewey’s approach to moral philosophy and are the only account showing the unity of his views in nearly all phases of ethical inquiry. These lectures are the only work by Dewey to set forth a (...) complete theory of moral language. They offer a clear illustration of the central methodological questions in the development of a pragmatic instrumentalist ethic and the actual working out of the instrumentalist approach as distinct from simply presenting it as a conclusion. (shrink)
Donald F. Koch supplies the only extant complete transcription of the annual three-course sequence on ethics Dewey gave at the University of Chicago from 1894 to 1904. Koch argues that these lectures offer the best systematic, overall introduction to Dewey’s approach to moral philosophy and are the only account showing the unity of his views in nearly all phases of ethical inquiry. These lectures are the only work by Dewey to set forth a complete theory of moral language. (...) They offer a clear illustration of the central methodological questions in the development of a pragmatic instrumentalist ethic and the actual working out of the instrumentalist approach as distinct from simply presenting it as a conclusion. (shrink)
Poststructuralism and the Politics of Method examines the political possibilities emerging with poststructuralist epistemology. Beginning with the premises for the construction of knowledge claims, Koch explores the dimensions of materialism, democracy, power, leftist politics, and other themes emerging from the this twentieth century philosophic movement.
Alienation, as a theme, deeply pervaded both the work and life of Max Weber, one of the pillars of modern sociology. In this excellent new book, Andrew M. Koch analyzes the genesis of the conecpt of alienation and then, in a brilliant and imaginative turn, works to recreate the context in which Weber understood alienation in both the intellectual and lived sense.
How should pragmatists respond to and contribute to the resolution of one of America’s greatest and most enduring problems? Given that the most important thinkers of the pragmatist movement—Charles S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead—said little about the problem of race, how does their distinctly American way of thinking confront the hardship and brutality that characterizes the experience of many African Americans in this country? In 12 thoughtful and provocative essays, contemporary American pragmatists connect ideas with (...) action and theory with practice to come to terms with this seemingly intractable problem. Exploring themes such as racism and social change, the value of the concept of race, the role of education in ameliorating racism, and the place of democracy in dealing with the tragedy of race, the voices gathered in this volume consider how pragmatism can focus new attention on the problem of race. Contributors are Michael Eldridge, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Judith M. Green, D. Micah Hester, Donald F. Koch, Bill E. Lawson, David E. McClean, Gregory F. Pappas, Scott L. Pratt, Alfred E. Prettyman, John R. Shook, Paul C. Taylor, and Cornel West. (shrink)
Illusions that produce perceptual suppression despite constant retinal input are used to manipulate visual consciousness. Here we report on a powerful variant of existing techniques, Continuous Flash Suppression. Distinct images flashed successively around 10 Hz into one eye reliably suppress an image presented to the other eye. Compared to binocular rivalry, the duration of perceptual suppression increased more than 10-fold. Using this tool we show that the strength of the negative afterimage of an adaptor was reduced by half when it (...) was perceptually suppressed by input from the other eye. The more likely the adaptor was completely suppressed, the larger the reduction of the afterimage intensity. Paradoxically, trial-to-trial visibility of the adaptor did not correlate with the degree of suppression. Our results imply that formation of afterimages involves neuronal structures that access input from both eyes, but that do not correspond directly to the neuronal correlates of perceptual awareness. (shrink)
For all its apparent debate bioethical discourse is in fact very narrow. The discussion that occurs is typically within limited parameters, rarely fundamental. Nor does it accommodate divergent perspectives with ease. The reason lies in its ideology and the political and economic perspectives that ideology promotes. Here the ideology of bioethics' fundamental axioms is critiqued as arbitrary and exclusive rather than necessary and inclusive. The result unpacks the ideological and political underpinnings of bioethical thinking and suggests new avenues for a (...) broader debate over fundamentals, and a different approach to bioethical debate. (shrink)
Two rival paradigms permeate bioethics. One generally favors eugenics, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other methods for those with severely restricting physical and cognitive attributes. The other typically opposes these and favors instead ample support for "persons of difference" and their caring families or loved ones. In an attempt to understand the relation between these two paradigms, this article analyzes a publicly reported debate between proponents of both paradigms, bioethicist Peter Singer and lawyer Harriet McBryde Johnson. At issue, the article concludes, (...) are two distinct axiomatic sets of values resulting in not simply different styles of rhetoric but different vocabularies, in effect two different languages of ethics. (shrink)
Aftereffects induced by invisible stimuli constitute a powerful tool to investigate what type of neural information processing can occur in the absence of visual awareness. This approach has been successfully used to demonstrate that awareness of oriented gratings or translating stimuli is not necessary to obtain a robust orientation-specific or motion-specific aftereffect. We exploit motion-induced blindness to investigate the related question of the influence of visual awareness on the formation of negative afterimages. Our results show that MIB does not affect (...) the persistence and intensity of afterimages. Thus, there is no significant contribution to the formation of afterimages beyond the sites mediating MIB. (shrink)
During the first 16 days after fertilization, the developing embryo has the capacity to separate into two genetically identical embryos, or monozygotic twins (triplets, etc.). Because of this capacity, philosophers typically argue that the pre-16 day embryo is not a human being. On a Biological Account of Personal Identity (BAPI), which considers us human beings as essentially organisms, the development of the embryo into an organism at 16 (or 21) days marks our origins. The development of an embryo into an (...) organism is also said to mark the point at which the embryo loses its potential to give rise to monozygotic twins. This is considered a strength of the Biological account of our origins. I will argue here that it is the BAPI's own criteria that will have to allow cases of monozygotic twinning occurring even after 16 days, and that in virtue of this a Biological Account faces twinning puzzles usually reserved for earlier accounts of our origins. (shrink)
Normative criteria adopted to assure just, equitable, and efficient allocation of donor organs to potential recipients has been widely praised as a model for the allocation of scarce medical resources. Because the organ transplantation program relies upon voluntary participation by potential donors, all such programs necessarily rely upon public confidence in allocation decision making protocols. Several well publicized cases have raised questions in North America about the efficacy of allocation procedures. An analysis of those cases, and the relevant technical literature, (...) suggest consistent structural deficits exist in the organ allocation process as it is applied by many individual transplantation centres. These irregularities are based upon both the failure of rank waiting as a method to guarantee just treatment and a general failure to recognize the extent to which prescriptive criteria — social values — are commonly used to screen potential organ transplant candidates. Resulting idiosyncratic determinations, and a devaluation of rank waiting as a criterion, raise fundamental questions regarding justice, fairness, and equability in the application procedure at large. To correct these structural problems in organ allocation procedures, a multicriterion model defining prescriptive criteria through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is proposed. (shrink)
We argue that the current known anatomy of connections between the intralaminar nuclei of the thalmus and visual cortical areas makes it unlikely that neuronal activity in the ILN mediates visual awareness.
Bioethics, and indeed much ethicalwriting generally, makes its point throughnarratives. The religious parable no less thanthe medical teaching case uses a simple storyto describe appropriate action or theapplication of a critical principle. Whilepowerful, the telling story has limits. In thispaper the authors describe a simple teachingcase on ``end-of-life'' decision making that wasill received by its audience. The authors ill-receivedexample, involving the disconnection ofventilation in a patient with ALS (Lou Gherig'sDisease) was critiqued by audience members withlong-term experience as ventilation users. Inthis (...) case, the supposedly simple narrative ofthe presenters conflicted with the lifehistories of the audience. The lessons of thisstory, and the conflict that resulted, speakcritically to the limits of simple teachingcases as well as the strengths of narrativeanalysis as a tool for the exploration ofbioethical case histories. (shrink)
US court decisions guaranteeing life-sustaining care to anencephalic infants have been viewed with disfavor, and sometimes disbelief, by some ethicists who do not believe in the necessity of life-sustaining support for those without cognitive abilities or an independently sustainable future. The distance between these two views – one legal and inclusive, the other medical and specific – seems unbridgeable. This paper reports on a program using multicriterion decision making to define and describe persons in a way which both acknowledges the (...) differences perceived by many as well as those commonalities insisted on in U.S. court decisions. It does this through application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process to a hierarchy of humanness criteria, and secondarily through reference to that concept''s subset, personhood. (shrink)