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The Great Debate at Newcastle Science Festival 2005

The Great Debate: Being Human
(Modern Theories of Human Nature)

Notes     Outline     Books

Saturday 12th March 2005
Day school held as part of
Newcastle Science Festival 2005

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Welcome: Persons and sciences By David Large
Persons, Evolution, Neurobiology By David Large
The Paradoxical Primate Review by Caspar Hewett
Steven Rose: The philosophical neuroscientist By David Large
Sex, Intention and Intelligence by Caspar Hewett
Zombie Time By David Large

David Large Caspar Hewett LG 35/37 Bedson Teaching Centre
Queen Victoria Road,
University of Newcastle,
Newcastle upon Tyne
Location Map

Tutors: Dr Caspar Hewett and David Large

Do our genes influence our conscious experiences? Do they explain them? Is the human mind something we can properly study? What can we learn about ourselves through the study of mind from the perspective of evolution?

Since the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species our vision of ourselves as a unique type of being has been progressively undermined. In the last two decades mechanistic theories of the human mind have come to the fore, claiming that the mind and brain are the same thing and that neurobiology and AI will be able to reveal the nature of the mind. How much can these theories tell us about the experience of being human? Why has it become popular to apply Neo-Darwinian principles to the philosophy of mind and consciousness?

This one day course will examine some modern ideas of what human nature is and will attempt to draw some conclusions about these questions. Come along, join the discussion, have your say.

A follow up evening discussion, The Nature of Being Human was held on Friday 18th March 2005

For further information e-mail:

Principal texts

The Paradoxical Primate by Colin Talbot
Mapping the Mind by Rita Carter
Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness by Daniel C. Dennett
Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett
Man, Beast and Zombie by Kenan Malik

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The Paradoxical Primate Mapping the Mind Consciousness Explained Kinds of Minds Man, Beast and Zombie

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© C J M Hewett, 2005