iai plus banner


Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

Being Conscious:

The science and philosophy of consciousness

to get free unlimited access to all videos on iai tv and all articles on iai news, as well as advance notice of the events.
You can watch up to an hour of video per month and 20 mins of any one video without signing up.
You have watched half an hour of our debates and talks on iai tv. To watch more than an hour of video per month or more than 20 mins of any one video you need to join iai+. Joining iai+ is free and gives you free unlimited access to iai tv and iai news.
You have watched your maximum monthly limit of videos. Join iai+ to view an unlimited number of videos on iai tv and articles on iai news. Joining iai+ is free and only takes a minute.

Steve Fuller, Iain McGilchrist, Roger Penrose. Hilary Lawson hosts.

No mystery has puzzled scientists and philosophers more deeply than the problem of how the brain transcends its physical origins. What is consciousness and how is it possible? Can we ever understand the workings of our own minds?

The Panel

Mathematician and author of The Emperor's New Mind Sir Roger Penrose, psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist, and controversial postmodern sociologist Steve Fuller ask what it means to be conscious.

The Tyranny of Freedom
Peter Curran, Lou Marinoff, Renata Salecl, Lynne Segal
Drug Culture
Susan Blackmore, Iain Edgar, Peter Hitchens, Caspar Melville, Edward Skidelsky
Six Billion Characters in Search of an Author
Jez Butterworth, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Tim McInerny, Richard Schoch
Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    Can quantum mechanics explain consciousness?
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    What do we mean by consciousness?
  • The Debate
    Theme Three
    Can consciousness be explained?
  • The Debate
    Theme Four
    Can explanations of consciousness be entirely neurological?
  • The Debate
    Theme Five
    Can we build an intelligent machine?
  • The Debate
    Theme Six
    Is there something special about humans?
Join the conversation

to post comments or join now (only takes a moment). Don't have an account? Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Google to get started:

Raghavan Srinivas on 26/03/2014 12:01pm

We attempt to define consciousness. Is it self awareness? Is it the source of intelligence? Is it neurological? Do other beings have consciousness? Are the so called inert or inanimate objects have no consciousness in them or is it we are unable to perceive it as it is beyond our present level of capabilities? I feel that we are a product of consciousness. We still have to overcome our perceived limitations to fathom the real vastness of consciousness with its limitless potentialities.

Raghavan Srinivas on 26/03/2014 11:52am

Consciousness is mostly analyzed through embodiment, leaving a possibility unexplored. That is consciousness is not limited by embodiment, it can independently exist, and in fact the process of embodiment itself owes its origin to consciousness! In other words consciousness can transcend limitations of time and matter. It seems to me,that it is yet another misconception to consider consciousness that has been compartmentalized with its physical starting and end point. It permeates the vast expanse of this universal creation and beyond. Only its visible expression we apprehend through our faculties that are again grossly under utilized! That is we have not yet unraveled our limitless capabilities to transcend our own perceived boundaries with respect to our consciousness. We presume that we can not see without our eyes, we can not hear without our ears and so on. When a device like a cell phone is available what we could not do comes within the realm of a possibility. So it is certain that there is a possibility to go beyond. We must strive.

Naeem Naeem on 13/01/2014 1:23pm

I know that I dont know.

Copy and paste the code below to embed or link to this video.

Embed options
  • Video Seek
    Converted to a link which jumps to that point in the video
    Example: 00:34
  • Bold Text
    Example: [b]Bold[/b]
  • Italic Text
    Example: [i]Italics[/i]
  • Underlined Text
    Example: [u]Underlined[/u]
  • Website link
    Link to another website or URL
    Example: [url]http://www.website.com/[/url]

Rate this talk with three clicks. You can choose 3 words, or vote for the same word 3 times.

Why register with the iai?
  • All you can watch
    Unlimited access to hundreds of hours of debates and talks from the world's leading minds, all for free.
  • Have your say
    Join the iai community and engage in conversation and debate around the issues that matter.
  • Hear it first
    Be the first to hear about our video releases, articles and tickets to our festival HowTheLightGetsIn.