Rabbi Lionel Blue (Image from the Guardian)

THE OBSERVER AND THE OBSERVED

Seminars in honour of Rabbi Dr Lionel Blue

April- May 2011
Tuesday Evenings, 1930-2100
Holgate Lecture Room,
Grey College, Durham

Much scientific activity has involved probing into the world outside of us, in all of its manifestations. However, this endeavour also has its complement: exploring the worlds within, our capacities and limitations, our souls (if such exist) and what it is we project into the cosmos. Quantum Physics, however, teaches us that an observed system is always perturbed by the act of observation; the Observer becomes intimately bound up in the process of observation and objectivity is hard to obtain. So, the questions become: how do these scientific insights impact on so many other important spheres, such as the cognitive sciences, religious experience and aesthetics; how are our views affected by cultural perspectives; and, conversely, how does the “inner” world, if it exists,  affect our “outer” observations?

In this series, we shall explore these matters in seminars led by experts in specific areas. It is recognized that this field has attracted a considerable amount of interest from individuals working at the very edge of “respectable” science. This seminar series will therefore try to ensure that the discussion is as much evidence-based as possible, that it will be genuinely cross-disciplinary and that it will provoke thoughtful responses from the audience.

Topics & speakers will be:

  • April 26th 2011: General Introduction (Lionel Blue) and The lessons from physics: how these ideas came about; and what their implications are in physical science. (Martyn Chamberlain)
  • May 3rd 2011: Brain, mind, and consciousness: is there a quantum explanation for the operation of the brain? (Peter Marcer)
  • May 10th 2011: The soul and conscience: perspectives from theology & philosophy (David Wilkinson)
  • May 17th 2011:  Aesthetics (Simeon Nelson)

Plus a final meeting, June 7th 2011: supper and general discussion.


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