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Announcing ‘The Science of Consciousness’ online conference, 2021

Announcing ‘The Science of Consciousness’ online conference, 2021

Debating | Consciousness

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Every year Essentia Foundation organizes an online conference featuring some of the world’s leading scholars, scientists and academics, on a topic relevant to ontological idealism. This year, we are delighted to focus on The Science of Consciousness, in a very special edition of the conference organized by Prof. dr. Sarah Durston. We’re even more delighted to count as our partners, this time, the Sentience and Science Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study of the University of Amsterdam.

One of the greatest questions we face is the nature of consciousness. Currently, the most widely accepted scientific framework is materialism: the idea that the world around us and everything in it, including ourselves, arises from the interplay of underlying material substances. Within this framework, consciousness is the result of brain processes. Yet, materialist neuroscience has not yet been able to pinpoint consciousness in the brain. Furthermore, the materialist framework does not explain the phenomenon of subjective experience and leaves no room for human values, including meaning, compassion and humanity. At this conference, we will explore different metaphysical frameworks that include materialism, but also alternatives such as idealism, which may contradict or complement materialism.

The Conference will take place on November 2nd and 4th 2021, online, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM CET. Each session will include presentations by renowned speakers and a panel session, with opportunity for questions from, and debate with, the audience.


November 2nd

14:00     Does the evidence indicate that experience is (generated by) brain activity?
                Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, author and director of Essentia Foundation

14:35     Consciousness: flexibility, risk factor, wisdom
               Prof.dr. Henk Barendregt, emeritus professor of mathematical logic, Radboud University

15:10     The predictive mind
               Prof.dr. Heleen Slagter, professor of brain, cognition and plasticity, Free University Amsterdam

15:45     An introduction to Panspiritism: How Fundamental Consciousness Becomes Individual Consciousness
               Dr. Steve Taylor, author and lecturer at Leeds Beckett University

16:20     Panel Discussion

17:00     End

November 4th

14:00     Emergence in the Universe & the Human Mind
               Prof.dr. Erik Verlinde, professor of theoretical physics, University of Amsterdam

14:35     Blobs of order: being in between below above
               Dr. Esmee Geerken, Arts Science fellow, UvA Institute for Advanced Study

15:10     Higher Dimensions of Consciousness?
               Dr. Jacob Jolij, author and lecturer at Groningen University

15:45     Consciousness as relational
               Dr. Iain McGilchrist, author, psychiatrist and former Oxford literary scholar

16:20     Panel Discussion

17:00     End


We will be publishing the videos of the conference over the next few weeks. After each publication, we will link the video to the respective agenda entry above.

The role of mind in neuroscience

The role of mind in neuroscience

Seeing | Neuroscience

After failing to find anatomical or functional correlates of a variety of psychiatric conditions, Prof. dr. Sarah Durston has moved away from metaphysical materialism. This is what she discusses in her presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference.

Sarah Durston is a neuroscientist and Professor of Developmental Disorders of the Brain at the Department of Psychiatry at the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. She is also the chair of the Sentience and Science Foundation. She has always been fascinated by the relationship between body and mind, and in 2016/2017 she investigated this more closely during a sabbatical at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), where she wrote the book The Universe, Life and Everything… Dialogues on changing understanding of reality. Prof. Durston is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.