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Extending the Mind (and Intending Matter)

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Event Series Event Series: The Science of Wholeness

November 12, 2023 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm CET

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Extending the Mind (and Intending Matter)

with Dr. Àlex Gómez-Marín

Sunday November 12, 2023
9:00am PST | 12:00pm EST | 5:00pm GMT  |  6:00pm CET

2-hour session

The session is live and you will be sent the RECORDING.

Most neuroscientists are convinced that minds live in skull confinement — after all, their metaphysical gospel (cloaked in brain scans) insists that minds are “nothing but” what brains do. Some occasionally let their minds stroll within the body, acknowledging the importance of heart and gut, while maintaining the brain as organ king. A few conservative radicals go further and claim that minds can also protract into the world, much like the blind’s cane or everyone’s phone. Such an “extended mind” is seriously meant but often so rather metaphorically as a heterodox way to lessen the duality by spreading “mind” like butter in the bread of “matter”. I wonder if that’s sufficient, or even necessary. We are still struggling with Descartes’ forced divorce between “res cogitans” and “res extensa”; extended stuff can’t think and thinking stuff can’t enjoy extension. I will argue for a possible dissolution/absolution of the problem and flesh such theoretical considerations with ongoing empirical work on the putative ability of living organisms for non-sensory perception and non-motor action, stepping deep into heretical neuro-land. I will also discuss conceptual implications for the ever-failing quest to locate memories in the brain. Regardless of one’s preferred “-ism”, we must heal such an ontological wound at the heart of science and of civilization. You can indeed separate the whole into parts (split a football, dissect a dog), but you cannot do so without it changing in kind (the game is over, the dog is dead). At the end of the day, we need to think, feel, and practice a science of wholeness beyond New Age “woo-woo” and Old Rage “poo-poo”.

To see the Full The Science of Wholeness Program

Àlex Gómez-Marín is a Spanish physicist turned neuroscientist. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics and a Masters in biophysics from the University of Barcelona. He was a research fellow at the EMBL-CRG Centre for Genomic Regulation and at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Lisbon. His research spans from the origins of the arrow of time to the neurobiology of action-perception across species, from flies and worms to mice and humans. Since 2016 he has been the head of the Behavior of Organisms Laboratory at the Instituto de Neurociencias in Alicante, where he is an Associate Professor of the Spanish Research Council. Combining computational biology and continental philosophy, his current research concentrates on consciousness in the real world.


November 12, 2023
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CET