Reality Is Not As It Seems
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York
The New York Academy of Sciences
Despite remarkable strides across virtually all scientific disciplines, the nature of the relationship between our brain and our conscious experience—the "mind-body problem"—remains perhaps the greatest mystery confronting science today. Most neuroscientists currently believe that neural activity in the brain constitutes the foundation of our reality, and that consciousness emerges from the dynamics of complicated neural networks. Yet no scientific theory to date has been able to explain how the properties of such neurons or neural networks actually translates into our specific conscious experiences.
The prevalent view in cognitive science today is that we construct our perception of reality in real time. But could we be misinterpreting the content of our perceptual experiences? According to some cognitive scientists, what we perceive with our brain and our senses does not reflect the true nature of reality. Thus, while evolution has shaped our perceptions to guide adaptive behavior, they argue, it has not enabled us to perceive reality as it actually is. What are the implications of such a radical finding for our understanding of the mystery of consciousness? And how do we distinguish between "normal" and "abnormal" perceptual experiences?
Cognitive scientist Donald D. Hoffman and neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan join Steve Paulson to discuss the elusive quest to understand the fundamental nature of consciousness, and why our perception of reality is not necessarily what it seems.
*Reception to follow
This event also will be available via Livestream
This event is part of the Conversations on the Nature of Reality series.
Moderated by journalist Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, this three-part series at the New York Academy of Sciences brings together leading scientists and thinkers to explore the fundamental nature of reality through the lens of personal experience and scientific inquiry.
To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.
American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Hunter College, CUNY
Johnson & Johnson
Mount Sinai Medical Center
New York State Education Department
New York University
NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Marburg
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
The Columbia University School of Medicine
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London
The Rockefeller University
To The Best of Our Knowledge at Wisconsin Public Radio
University of California, Irvine
US News & World Report
Weill Cornell Medicine