Past Event

Minding what Matters: Philosophy in Neuroscience

April 11, 2024
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
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Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th Floor Lecture Hall), 3227 Broadway, New York

Event Description

The fluid boundaries between philosophy and the sciences during the 19th and early 20th centuries enabled pioneers like Hermann von Helmholtz and Santiago Ramón y Cajal to draw inspiration from philosophical inquiries as they embarked on their explorations of the nervous system. Since then, scientific tools and methods have become more specialized, embedding theoretical assumptions once probed throughout empirical practice, while sharpening the divide between philosophy and neuroscience. 

Today, many view philosophy and neuroscience as distinct, non-intersecting pursuits. Yet, even as scientists use contemporary neuroscientific methods to answer more and more questions, many conceptual quandaries persist: What do neurons represent? What is the nature of perceptual experience? What counts as behavior? Philosophical inquiry remains urgent in neuroscience, since such questions cannot be settled by amassing data alone.

Join for a conversation that will challenge the divisions between philosophy and neuroscience and address the perennial question at the heart of it all: What is the relationship between the mind and brain?

Event Speakers

  • Paul Linton, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience and Fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University
  • John Morrison, Professor of Philosophy at Barnard College
  • Nedah Nemati, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University
  • Moderated by Stuart Firestein, Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University

Event Information

Open to Columbia University ID holders. Registration required for any Columbia University guests without access to the Jerome L. Greene Science Center. Please contact [email protected]with any questions.

This event is hosted by the Zuckerman Institute and Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University.