I BOUGHT THE TICKET THEREFORE I AM - APRIL 1 - 1.37PM - 2019
The Oxford Debates - The Oxford Martin School - 12.00 noon
For starters, the titles - ‘The Oxford Debates: Is Consciousness Everywhere? - are always so good, so socially aspirational, that they’re perfect to oh-so-casually drop into conversation later on the bus home.
Secondly, it never fails to surprise just how many people turn up, specifically to take part and interact with the speakers. And thirdly, the pedigree of the authors is tip-top: huge intellects generally struggling with PowerPoint presentations.
Today it was the turn of Philip Goff (a philosopher and consciousness researcher at Durham University) and David Papineau (professor of philosophy at King’s College London) to debate whether consciousness is physical, as in merely a process of the brain, or something non-physical, like an immaterial soul.
First ‘in the ring’ was Papineau, who believes consciousness IS very much of a physical nature, followed by Goff who, no great surprise here, disagreed (both men however were keen to stress that outside of the debating arena they’re actually good friends).
To be honest, I kind of lost the thread of their arguments but that didn’t make listening to it any less enjoyable. And especially so since the real pleasure of these events lies squarely with the audiences who are then invited to take part.
PS. For what it’s worth, I sided with Goff but not because he was the better speaker… he just looked happier.
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