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Who Am I? Public Event Series Examines Question of Human Identity and Consciousness

Scientists and humanities scholars discuss perspectives on the self in new Academy event series.

Published November 22, 2010

The New York Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the Nour Foundation, will present a six-part series of public events examining the question “What is the Self?” from December 2010 through May 2011. Perspectives on the Self: Conversations on Identity and Consciousness will bring together experts from the sciences and humanities to provide an objective overview of the evolving notion, construct, and experience of the Self, without losing sight of the subjective value that makes these matters so integral to each of us.

“The events will provide an interdisciplinary discourse of the meaning and experience of the Self from contemporary science and the humanities,” said Sonya Dougal, program manager of the series at the New York Academy of Sciences.

A diverse roster of scholars including philosophers, cognitive scientists, physicists, historians, evolutionary biologists, neurobiologists, psychologists, sociologists, and theologians from universities around the world will engage in a series of interdisciplinary conversations that aim to afford a better understanding of the experience of the Self and the ways in which boundaries between self and non-self shape our common world.

Public radio broadcast journalists and authors Krista Tippett (Being) and Steve Paulson (To the Best of Our Knowledge), Newsweek senior editor Lisa Miller, National Institute of Mental Health Chief of Neuroendocrinology & Behavior Esther Sternberg, University of Colorado Philosophy Professor Robert Hanna, and London School of Economics Senior Lecturer Alex Voorhoeve will host and moderate this unique series of interdisciplinary conversations on identity, consciousness, and self-knowledge.

Speakers in the series include distinguished philosophers Thomas Metzinger, Evan Thompson, Owen Flanagan, Raymond Martin, Simon Critchley, Shaun Gallagher, Elie During, and David Jopling; Harvard ethicist Frances Kamm; sociologist Norbert Wiley; psychologists Paul Bloom, Roy Baumeister, and Tim Wilson; theologians John Haught and Nancey Murphy; evolutionary biologist Ken Miller, historian Gerald Izenberg, Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel, and physicist and humanities professor V.V. Raman.

Events in the series will take place on:
6:00-7:15 PM, December 7, 2010, “To Be or Not to Be: The Self as Illusion”
7:00-8:15 PM, January 27, 2011, “Me, Myself, and I: The Rise of the Modern Self”
7:00-8:15 PM, February 23, 2011, “Quid Pro Quo: The Ecology of the Self”
7:00-8:15 PM, March 23, 2011, “The Pursuit of Immortality: From the Ego to the Soul”
7:00-8:15 PM, April 28, 2011, “A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Linking Belief to Behavior”
7:00-8:15 PM, May 24, 2011, “Who Am I? Beyond ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’”

Tickets are $75 for the entire series, or $15 per event. Students pay $50 for the series, $10 per event. Registration for the entire series entitles you to 15% off. Academy members are admitted free. All events take place at the New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St., 40th floor, New York, NY. Register for individual events or the entire series at

Media may register by contacting Adrienne Burke, Director, Public Outreach, the New York Academy of Sciences, at, 212.298.8655.

About the Nour Foundation
The Nour Foundation is a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization in special consultative status to the United Nations that explores meaning and commonality in human experience. In doing so, the Foundation adopts a multidisciplinary and integrative approach to the study of core principles and values that universally engender greater understanding, tolerance, and unity among human beings worldwide. To learn more about the Nour Foundation and its activities, please visit

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide since 1817. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at