• Perspectives on the Self Series

  • "Who am I?" This question highlights our deeply rooted need to understand the experience of consciousness known as the Self.  Experts from science and the humanities will come together for a 6-part series of interdisciplinary conversations on the evolving notion and experience of the Self.

    Each event in the series will also be broadcast as a webinar.

    Please note:
    Transmission of presentations via the webinar is subject to individual consent by the speakers. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that every speaker's presentation will be broadcast in full via the webinar. To access all speakers' presentations in full, we invite you to attend the live event in New York City where possible.

  • Recent Events

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

    Who Am I?: Beyond ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’

    Moderator: Alex Voorhoeve (London School of Economics)

    Can we ever truly answer the question, "Who am I?" The final seminar, with philosophers Elie During and David Jopling, social psychologist Timothy Wilson, and ethicist Frances Kamm will examine the difficulty of achieving genuine self-knowledge and how the pursuit of self-knowledge plays a role in shaping the Self.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011 | 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

    Me, Myself, and I: The Rise of the Modern Self

    Moderator: Robert Hanna (University of Colorado, Boulder)

    Historians Gerald Izenberg and Jerrold Seigel, philosopher Raymond Martin, and sociologist Norbert Wiley will trace the evolution of the meaning of Self from antiquity to the present.

    Thursday, April 28, 2011 | 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

    A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Linking Belief to Behavior

    Moderator: Esther Sternberg (National Institute of Mental Health)

    Philosopher Simon Critchley, cognitive scientist Shaun Gallagher, and physicist V.V. Raman will survey how the Self is shaped by interactions with the environment, how free will, responsibility, and other traits emerge, and how character and virtue become targets for constructing the Self.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

    The Pursuit of Immortality: From the Ego to the Soul

    Moderator: Lisa Miller (Newsweek)

    Are we immortal? Do our souls exist beyond our bodies? What scientific evidence is there for mystical experience? These questions and others will be addressed from a cultural, historical, and scientific perspective by evolutionary biologist Kenneth Miller and theologians John Haught and Nancey Murphy.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

    Quid Pro Quo: The Ecology of The Self

    Moderator: Steve Paulson (Producer and Interviewer for Public Radio's To the Best of Our Knowledge)

    Philosopher and neurobiologist Owen Flanagan and psychologists Paul Bloom and Roy Baumeister will examine current biological, psychological, and anthropological research on the complex interaction between the Self and others and will consider the roots of empathy and morality.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM

    To Be or Not To Be: The Self as Illusion

    Moderator: Krista Tippett (Creator and Host of Public Radio's Being)

    Renowned philosophers Thomas Metzinger and Evan Thompson will join cardiologist and expert on near-death experiences, Pim van Lommel, to examine recent developments in neuroscience and philosophy that shed light on whether our conscious experience of a unified Self is reality or illusion.

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    Sonya Dougal, PhD

    Program Manager, Life Sciences