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Decades-long bet on consciousness ends—and it’s philosopher 1, neuroscientist 0

Jun. 27, 2023.
1 min. read 7 Interactions

"A definitive theory of consciousness is still an ongoing quest"

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Amara Angelica

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Amara Angelica Is Senior Editor, Mindplex

A large network of neurons (credit: Sam Ingersoll)

 A 25-year science wager about consciousness came to an end on June 25.

In 1998, neuroscientist Christof Koch bet philosopher David Chalmers that the mechanism by which the brain’s neurons produce consciousness would be discovered by 2023.

Koch lost, based on the results of new research in progress that tested two of the leading consciousness hypotheses—Integrated information theory (IIT) and global network workspace theory (GNWT), both of which failed.

So both scientists agreed publicly on June 23 (at the annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC) in New York City) that a definitive theory of consciousness is still an ongoing quest—and declared Chalmers the winner … with a promised case of fine Portuguese wine.

Citation: Lenharo, M. (2023). Decades-long bet on consciousness ends—and it’s philosopher 1, neuroscientist 0. Nature News. June 24, 2023. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02120-8 (open-access)

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