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Biennial of Thought 2022

Antonio Damasio and Anil Seth

The Mysteries of Consciousness

Debate

Free

The doctor and researcher Antonio Damasio speaks with the neuroscientist and educator Anil Seth about the latest discoveries in the field of neuroscience, which are shedding light on the mysteries of consciousness and opening up new viewpoints from which to think what makes us humans.

Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of the human being. Since it has been seen for decades as one of the great challenges of neuroscientific research, centres around the world are exclusively devoted to researching further into this phenomenon which, even today, is still generating more questions than answers. According to the latest discoveries, the brain acts like great prediction machine that has the task of producing sense out of all the perceptions it receives and its earlier experiences, although this does not mean that the world is really the way we see it. Consciousness would then be a great narrative shared by our species, which explains more about who we are that what reality is. Will we even know how this feature of the mind has appeared and evolved? What distinguishes human consciousness from the consciousness found in other species?

The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute of the University of Southern California, has led pioneering research leading to discoveries about this great mystery. He is the author of works that are now deemed classics, among them Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, 1994 (in Spanish, El error de Descartes, Destino, 2011) and Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, 2010 (in Catalan, I el cervell va crear l’home, Destino, 2018). Anil Seth, one of the great educators in the field of discoveries about the human mind, is founding co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex and editor of 30-Second Brain: The 50 Most Mind-Blowing Ideas in Neuroscience, Each Explained in Half a Minute (in Spanish 50 temas fascinantes de la neurociencia, Blume, 2015). In this session they speak with the science journalist Núria Jar.

Antonio Damasio participates by videoconference.

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