To Be or Not To Be: The Self as Illusion

Moderated by Krista Tippett, MDiv
Creator and Host of Public Radio's Being

Pim van Lommel, MD, Hospital Rijnstate, The Netherlands
Thomas Metzinger, PhD, University of Mainz, Germany
Evan Thompson, PhD, University of Toronto

Evidence from studies of the brain and mind point to a construct of the Self resulting from complex neurobiological processes interacting with the environment. If distinct neurobiological correlates of consciousness do in fact exist, does that necessarily imply that the Self is an epiphenomenon and illusion? Furthermore, how do these characterizations of the Self affect the way we represent ourselves, our responsibilities, and our actions in the world?

Renowned philosophers Thomas Metzinger and Evan Thompson will join cardiologist and expert on near-death experiences, Pim van Lommel, to examine recent developments in neuroscience and philosophy that shed light on whether our conscious experience of a unified Self is reality or illusion.

Webcast Podcast Transcript

Near-death experiences by Pim van Lommel

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
6:00 PM - 7:15 PM
Reception to Follow
The New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor
This event is the first in a six-part series, Perspectives on the Self, which brings together experts from the sciences and the humanities for conversations on the evolving meaning and experience of the Self.