A monthly event featuring debates, talks, interviews, music and film. LIVE.

Headline Debate - The Dawn of Consciousness

Monday 9th May - 06:00 PM BST

Headline Debate - The Dawn of Consciousness

Does consciousness spell catastrophe?

Steven Pinker and Sam Harris have argued "the emergence of consciousness is simply incomprehensible". While recent neuroscientists have concluded "there is no convincing function to be found for consciousness". But if so, why are we conscious?   Is consciousness an accurate description of what's happening to us, a sort of internal dashboard of the current state of affairs?  Or is it a construction made to achieve certain outcomes?   

Has evolution got something seriously wrong if consciousness is a mere by-product of being human?  Do we need a new account of consciousness and how it fits into our model of the universe? Is it possible that consciousness itself is leading us astray?

Leading philosophers, neuroscientists and anthropologists debate this deep puzzle and the consequences for what it means to be human and our theories about the nature of life and reality.

Tickets for IAI Live May are just £4.99 and include access to all the evening’s events, screenings and performances. Book here.

Documentary Screening - DOKBOX Cinema
All in the Mind

Big Sofa Interview - The Lounge
The World Is Not Made Of Things, with Iain McGilchrist

Headline Debate - The Arena
The Dawn of Consciousness

Meet The Speakers - The Lounge
Donald Hoffman, Eva Jablonka, Iain McGilchrist, Michelle Montague

Documentary Screening - DOKBOX Cinema
Darwin's Beagle

Solo Talk - The Arena
The Evolution of War

Music - The Stage
Ren Harvieu

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Donald Hoffman

Anti-reality theorist

Donald Hoffman is an American cognitive psychologist working at the University of California, Irvine. He is making waves with a new theory suggesting that, instead of presenting reality as it "really is", our perception is like a desktop interface enabling us to use reality effectively. 

"One of the deepest and most original thinkers of his generation” – Steven Pinker

Eva Jablonka

Theoretical biologist and Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Tel Aviv University

Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Tel Aviv University, Jablonka is a theoretical biologist. Her books include Evolution in Four Dimensions.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Acclaimed public intellectual

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer, host and executive producer of Closer To Truth; bridging science and philosophy to unravel the enigmas of existence, Kuhn has written or edited over 30 books, including 'The Mystery of Existence: Why is there Anything At All?' and 'Closer to Truth: Challenging Current Belief'.

Iain McGilchrist

Iain McGilchrist is psychiatrist and writer, best known for his book 'The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.' A former Consultant Psychiatrist at the Bethlem Royal, his new book 'The Matter With Things' explores the ways to truth and what is true.

Michelle Montague

Michelle Montague is an eminent philosopher of mind who focusses on the analysis of conscious perception, conscious emotion, and conscious thought. She is author of numerous articles and is a contributor to 'Philosophers on Consciousness' alongside Susan Blackmore, Daniel Dennett, Patricia Churchland and David Chalmers.