Darwin Day 2011: The Science and Philosophy of Consciousness

Sunday, February 13th 2011 at 2:59 pm
Sunday, February 13th 2011 at 4:59 pm
Tischman Auditorium at NYU (in Vanderbilt Hall)

What does science tell us about consciousness? What light does scientific research shed on our understanding of the human capacity for attention and perception? And how has philosophy helped us make sense of scientific findings about our ability to experience and feel?

To tackle these and other questions, the Center for Inquiry and New York City Skeptics present a Darwin Day forum featuring NYU philosopher Ned Block , and Jacqueline Gottlieb , neuroscientist at Columbia University. The speakers will make presentations about the philosophy and science of consciousness, respectively, then sit down for a conversation with philosopher Massimo Pigliucci . A question-and-answer session will follow. There will also be a dinner-and-drinks reception after the event; click here or here to find more information and RSVP. 

Tischman Auditorium is located on the first floor of NYU Law's Vanderbilt Hall, located at 40 Washington Square South, between MacDougal and Sullivan Streets. It is one block east of the West 4th Street subway station (A/CE/B/D/F lines). Admission is free and open to the public. Photo ID is required.

The Center for Inquiry in New York City is the local branch of a thinktank dedicated to science, reason, and secular values. New York City Skeptics is a nonprofit that promotes critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and science education to the general public.

More on the speakers:

- Ned Block is professor of philosophy, psychology, and neural science at NYU and co-editor of The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates . He works in philosophy of mind, metaphysics and foundations of cognitive science and is currently writing a book on consciousness. Block came to NYU in 1996 from MIT, where he was chair of the philosophy program. He has been a fellow at numerous organizations, has received a wide array of research grants, and is, among past president of such organizations as the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.

- Jacqueline Gottlieb is associate professor of neuroscience at Columbia University, where she focuses on the neural mechanisms of attention, learning and decision making. Her work is based on trying to understand how the brain generates intelligent behavior and in particular, how it learns, reasons and makes adaptive decisions.

- Massimo Pigliucci is chair of the philosophy department at City University of New York (CUNY) at Lehman College. Before going to Lehman, Pigliucci was professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His research is concerned with philosophy of science, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion. He has published over a hundred technical papers and several books; he has columns in the magazines Philosophy Now and Skeptical Inquirer, pens the "Rationally Speaking" blog, and hosts the podcast by the same name. His most recent book is Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk .