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Mind, Brain, and the Human Soul Series Lecture Two: Consciousness and the Physical Sciences

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<February 2019>


Mind, Brain, and the Human Soul Series Lecture Two: Consciousness and the Physical Sciences
The John C. and Jeanette D. Walton Workshop in Science, Philosophy, and Religion

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | 6:30 p.m.
12th-floor Lounge | E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center | Lincoln Center Campus | 113. W. 60th St. | New York City

William Jaworski, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy
Fordham University

Lecture Two: Consciousness and the Physical Sciences
How exactly are thoughts and feelings related to states of the brain? In our everyday dealings we take ourselves to be free, conscious beings who experience joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, who act to get what we want, who make choices, and who can be held accountable for them. What science appears to reveal, by contrast, is a vast undifferentiated sea of matter and energy that at a fundamental level has none of the characteristics we take to be distinctive of human life—no thought, no feeling, no choice, nothing good or bad, right or wrong. Understanding how there can be things like us—free, conscious, moral things—in a world that at a fundamental level is devoid of them has set the agenda in philosophy since the Scientific Revolution. Mind-body problems, the problem of free will and determinism, and problems grounding moral values in natural facts all originate here. This lecture discusses some of the most popular recent attempts to solve mind-body problems—attempts maintaining that in some sense human distinctiveness can be exhaustively explained by the physical sciences. It then contrasts these views with a once prominent alternative that was largely forgotten after the Revolution.

Lecture and discussion are free and open to the public.
Reception to follow. Please preregister below.

The Walton lectures and workshops aim to provide interested professionals in the New York area the opportunity to interact with scholars of the highest caliber concerning topics at the intersection of science, philosophy, and theology. Upcoming events consider current research on topics such as consciousness, free will, and their relation to states of the brain; rule-based ethics versus virtue-based ethics, and the role of science in contemporary society.

Additional lecture in this series:

Lecture Three: Spirit in a Physical World
Friday, November 22
6:30 p.m.

William Jaworski, Ph.D., is associate professor of philosophy at Fordham University. He is the author of Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and numerous papers dealing with topics in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and related areas.

For more information, contact Noah Minnick at 212-636-6553 or


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