As Homer Simpson once pondered: "What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind".
Debate of a more thoughtful nature takes place at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury on 6 November. While our scientific understanding of the brain has increased dramatically in the past decade, a big question mark still hangs over how, exactly, that tangle of neurons and other cells leads to all those clever thoughts that apparently go on inside our skulls. As with any area awaiting a detailed scientific explanation, the wiggle room leaves space for debate, speculation and fringe theories. All sides come together in this special debate, chaired by Tom Jeffreys, Editor of the Journal of Wild Culture.
The panelists are drawn from commendably diverse backgrounds. On one side we have a trio presenting established scientific observations, and on the other, we have a more cultural viewpoint, with ideas of consciousness from art, philosophy and parapsychology.
Speakers include science writer Anthony Peake, philosopher and neuroscientist Raymond Tallis, and out-of-body experience researcher Graham Nicholls, arguing that consciousness goes beyond the individual brain. Across the floor, philosopher Stephen Law, neuroscientist Jane Aspell, and Deborah Hyde, Editor of The Skeptic argue the more established view.
Consciousness Beyond the Individual is at Swedenborg Hall, 20 Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2TH on 6 November. Tickets are £11.25 and bookable here.