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Perception, Selfhood, and Consciousness with Anil Seth

June 30, 2021 at 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm BST

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“Imagine being a brain. You’re locked inside a bony skull, trying to figure what’s out there in the world.”


In this much-awaited salon, Anil Seth, professor of cognitive and computational neuroscience at the University of Sussex, co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and author of the upcoming book Being You – A New Science of Consciousness, will join us for a discussion of the open question of consciousness. We will explore the philosophical history of the subject, the current state of science, and directions for its future study. The event requires no professional training in neuroscience. Co-hosted by Bryan Kam.

In some sense, consciousness today is as mysterious as it ever was. Consciousness is a familiar phenomenon – we all know what it is like to lose consciousness in deep sleep or anaesthesia, and regain it when we wake up or come to. At the same time, it is resolutely inscrutable, evading any easy definition or inspection, and leading to heated debates about its nature. Since, by definition, it is the only place we have any subjectivity, it seems of utmost importance. And yet questions about how consciousness might arise or what consciousness could possibly be _for_ have animated philosophers for millennia.

In recent decades, however, cognitive neuroscience and related disciplines have made progress in ascertaining the material basis of consciousness. Great strides have been made in the understanding of how perception works, and in how selfhood— the experience of ‘being you’ — might be constructed.

What is the best way to understand consciousness? How might mind relate to matter? To what degree does the external world determine our perceptions, and to what degree are our perceptions a neuronal fantasy? What can anaesthesia and sleep teach us about waking life? And how does selfhood relate to consciousness?


Good to read/watch pre-salon:

Checker Shadow Illusion image credit butisit (CC BY 3.0)


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June 30, 2021
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm BST
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