Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Re Portugal

I'm back in NYC from a week of sun, beer, neuroscience, qualia, and zen in lovely Lisboa at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown.

Zach Mainen, director of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, ran a week-long course on consciousness and first-person methodology for the 2010 class of students in the International Neuroscience Doctoral Programme (with assistance from 2008 student Scott Rennie). Brian Keeley (who knows Zach from like a million years ago when they were together at University of California, San Diego) and I were brought on board to hang out in general as well as provide neurophilosophical overviews of consciousness, free will, and personal identity.

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Each morning, the class kicked off with a half-hour of meditation led by monks from a local zen dojo. Then we set off to do things like coach opposing teams of students in constructing arguments about whether the self was something that could survive teleportation.

Thursday afternoon I presented "Does the neuroscience of consciousness need to care about qualia?" in the Neuroscience Seminar Series (abstract and answer here). It was fun to see so many neuroscientists get passionate about qualia!

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Saturday afternoon, Brian and I took a teleporter to Cascais, where someone accidentally hit the "receive" button too many times.

Multi Me

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(Photos from my flickr set, Lisbon 2011: Neuroscience Programme at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown)