Consciousness, perception, and controlled hallucinations
How can we ‘measure’ how conscious someone is, using brain imaging? Are our conscious experiences ‘controlled hallucinations’? What does it mean to experience being a ‘self’? Are other animals conscious? What about machines, now or in the future?
Consciousness is, for each of us, the presence of a world. Without consciousness there is no world, no self: there is nothing at all. But we know surprisingly little about the material and biological basis of this most central feature of our lives. How do rich multisensory experiences, the senses of self and body, and volition, agency, and ‘will’ emerge from the joint activity of billions of neurons locked inside a bony skull? Once the province of philosophy and theology, understanding consciousness has emerged as a one of the great scientific challenges for this century.
This evening, Anil Seth will sketch the state-of-the-art in the new science of consciousness, with a focus on what neuroscience has to offer. He will distinguish between conscious level (how conscious we are), conscious content (what we are conscious of), and conscious self (the ‘I’ behind the eyes), describing in each case how new experiments are shedding light on the underlying neural mechanisms, in normal life and in neurological and psychiatric conditions. Throughout, he will emphasize phenomenology – the way things seem – as the target for any satisfying explanation of how the brain, in conjunction with the body and the environment, gives rise to and shapes conscious experience.
Afterwards, cocktails that will send you to other consciousness planes and the god damn Orgelheimers taking the stage playing surf, jazz, and crazy stuff.
Entrance to the event is free. Event held in English. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00. CASH ONLY.