The Whispering Mind: The Enduring Conundrum of Consciousness

It’s an old question: What is consciousness? Today, sophisticated brain imaging technologies, clinical studies, as well as the newfound ability to listen to the whisper of even an individual nerve cell, are bringing scientists closer than ever to the neurobiological basis of consciousness. Join some of the world’s leading researchers who are primed to determine if Homo sapiens are the only conscious species, if consciousness lives only within our brain or also outside of it, and ultimately, the fundamental biochemical processes underlying the life of the mind.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Our mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.

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Original Program date: May 30, 2013
MODERATOR: Terry Moran
PARTICIPANTS: Nicholas Schiff, Mélanie Boly, Christof Koch, Colin McGinn

Terry Moran’s Introduction 00:04

Participant Introductions 1:50

What is meant by Consciousness? 3:58

The history of Consciousness? 5:06

Is the brain a separate thing from consciousness? 11:40

Historically philosophers have failed to explain consciousness. 15:23

When are we first conscious? 18:41

The Jennifer Aniston Brain cell. 24:04

Is experience different from consciousness? 29:43

What do we now about the physical place that consciousness lives? 36:12

Donald Herbert wakes after 10 years. 43:12

when we sleep do we lose consciousness? 52:17

What is project Mindscope? 57:42

What is integrated information theory? 1:04:30

If we understand consciousness will the world be less interesting? 1:12:02

Are there any moral factors to understanding consciousness? 1:17:34

Watch long and short-form videos on nearly every science-related topic including physics, biology, the brain, robotics, medicine, space, engineering, and the Earth. We gather great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Through discussions, debates, original films, lectures, and intimate salons, the World Science Festival takes science out of the laboratory and out into world.

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