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Time & Mind: Finding a theory that closes the gap (2023 work conference, day one)

Seeing | Physics | 2024-02-11

Starfield in deep space many light years far from the Earth. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

This video contains all the presentations and debates of day one of Essentia Foundation’s 2023 work conference, on the topic of time and mind. Speakers include Prof. Bernard Carr, Prof. Lee Smolin, Prof. George Ellis, and Prof. Jonathan Schooler.

The role of time in mainstream physics—as it arises in Newtonian theory, relativity theory, quantum theory, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics—is relatively well understood. However, there is a profound mystery concerning the passage of time associated with consciousness. Many physicists maintain that this passage is purely a feature of mind, going beyond physics itself, while others argue that it points to some new physical paradigm, perhaps associated with the marriage of relativity theory and quantum theory. Certainly, the status of time in any final theory of physics remains unclear.

The possibility that physics may eventually accommodate and elucidate the nature of consciousness and associated experience suggests the need to address issues that are currently viewed as being on the borders of physics and philosophy. It also impinges on developments in neurophysics, cognitive science and psychology. So this is an interdisciplinary problem and this conference brings together experts in all the relevant fields. There are contributions from the physicists Bernard Carr, Paul Davies, George Ellis and Lee Smolin, the neurophysicist Alex Gomez-Marin, the cognitive neuroscientist Julia Mossbridge, and the psychologists Jonathan Schooler and Marc Wittmann.

Although the conference is organized by Essentia Foundation—which is associated with the philosophical tradition of Idealism—it covered a wide range of approaches. Our vision is to cover topics that are relevant to Idealism, but not to exclude alternative views from the conference.

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