Speaker: Deric Bownds, UW-Madison, Dept. of Zoology
Abstract: Most cognitive neuroscientists are practicing Cartesian dualists in their daily lives, even while knowing that there is no distinction between our minds and bodies. They accept compelling modern experiments (as well as ancient religious insights) demonstrating that the 'self' or 'I' is a fiction, albeit a useful one we could not live without. It is a ancient fiction that co-evolved with a supportive neuroendocrine emotional repertoire to eventually generate social brains capable of scientific and artistic culture. The purpose of this talk is to outline a few central observations on the nature of this phenomenal self, how it is constructed with respect to the physical world and the social world of other humans.