Among the important books I am currently reading is one by adviser Dr Andrew Fellows – Gaia, Psyche and Deep Ecology, which I will review in the next Paradigm Explorer. In the Galileo Commission Report, Harald Walach lays considerable emphasis on the need to become aware of one’s presuppositions, principally of what I have come to call ‘the central dogma of neuroscience’: that the brain actually generates consciousness.
In a discussion about presuppositions in biology (p. 59) Andrew quotes Michael Ruse as observing that there is a deep divide between the mechanist/reductionist and the holist/emergentist and that ‘the side one takes influences the science one does and the science one finds acceptable. The holist/emergentist is going to be looking groups and wholes in a way that the mechanist/reductionist is not.’ Later in the same paragraph Ruse remarks that ‘their allegiance is beyond reason and evidence. It is all about commitments, philosophies.’ Andrew then quotes George Henrik von Wright on the same topic and he comments that the position one adopts ‘is built into a choice of primitives, of basic concepts for the whole argumentation. This choice, one could say, is existential. It is a choice of point of view that cannot be further grounded.’ In other words, this is exactly what RG Collingwood calls an absolute presupposition. The link between the mechanist/reductionist position in relation to neuroscience is immediately striking – though for me these approaches should be complementary rather than in opposition.
the premature deaths of elite scientists affect the dynamics of scientific discovery. Following such deaths, scientists who were not collaborators with the deceased stars become more visible, and they advance novel ideas through increased publications within the field of the deceased star. These “emerging stars” are often scientists who were not previously active within that field. The results suggest that outsiders to a specific scientific field are reluctant to challenge a research star who is viewed as a leader within that field.
Presentations and Discussions
Prof Max Velmans gave an important presentation at the SMN Annual Gathering on The Ancient History and Future of Consciousness Studies, which I strongly recommend. Watch here.
What is Life? Tim Freke in conversation with Iain McGilchrist, a Galileo Commission advisor. Watch here.
Beyond the Brain, London, November 1-3 with Dr Rupert Sheldrake, Prof Marjorie Woollacott, Amanda Feilding, Dr David Luke, Ken Wilber, Betty Kovacs, Evelyn Elsaesser, Prof Chris Roe, Dr Steve Taylor and Prof Stephen Braude.
November 30, London and supported by the Fetzer Institute: Evolving Consciousnesswith Jules Cashford, Pippa Evans, Prof Simon Conway Morris FRS, Malcolm Guite, Prof Ursula King, Gary Lachman, David Lorimer, Prof Richard Tarnas, Dr Mark Vernon.
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