Consciousness, Purpose, and Values - Dr Iain McGilchrist
In a previous two-hour lecture for TWU, I argued for the nature of consciousness as a foundational element in the cosmos, not derivative from anything else. In this talk, I will not attempt to repeat that argument, but start from where I left off. In a new book, The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (Perspectiva Press, November 2021), I ask how we come to know anything at all, and move on to consider what we can say about the irreducible ‘building blocks’ of reality: time, space, matter, consciousness, values, purpose and the sense of the sacred. I take value and purpose to be implied by the very nature of consciousness itself; constitutive of reality, not ‘invented’ (though obviously particular values and particular purposes may be); that although science is popularly thought to contradict such a view it does not, rightly understood, do so at all; and that reason and evidence strongly supports such a conclusion. I hold that our failure to understand this lies at the heart of our global predicament.
About the Speaker:
Dr Iain McGilchrist
Dr Iain McGilchrist is a Psychiatrist and Writer, who lives on the Isle of Skye, off the coast of North West Scotland. He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains. He was formerly a Consultant Psychiatrist of the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley NHS Trust in London, where he was Clinical Director of their southern sector Acute Mental Health Services.
Dr McGilchrist has published original research and contributed chapters to books on a wide range of subjects, as well as original articles in papers and journals, including the British Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times. He has taken part in many radio and TV programmes, documentaries, and numerous podcasts, and interviews on YouTube, among them dialogues with Jordan Peterson, David Fuller of Rebel Wisdom, and philosopher Tim Freke. His books include Against Criticism, The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning, and Ways of Attending. He published his latest book: The Matter With Things, a book of epistemology and metaphysics. You can keep up to date with his work at https://channelmcgilchrist.com