Episode 374

Consciousness and the Physical World

A Conversation with Christof Koch

July 9, 2024

Sam Harris speaks with Christof Koch about the nature of consciousness. They discuss Christof’s development as a neuroscientist, his collaboration with Francis Crick, change blindness and binocular rivalry, sleep and anesthesia, the limits of physicalism, non-locality, brains as classical systems, conscious AI, idealism and panpsychism, Integrated Information Theory (IIT), what it means to say something “exists,” the illusion of the self, brain bridging, Christof’s experience with psychedelics, and other topics.

Christof Koch is a neuroscientist at the Allen Institute and the Chief Scientist of the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation. He is the former president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and a former professor at the California Institute of Technology. He writes regularly for Scientific American and is the author of five books, most recently Then I Am Myself the World: What Consciousness Is and How to Expand It.

Website: https://christofkoch.com/


Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.