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

Mind, Maps and Reality

Monday 2nd August - 06:00 PM BST

Mind, Maps and Reality

Why do we see patterns in everything?

Be it in the stars, in tea leaves, or in our naming of the botanical world, humans are drawn to finding patterns everywhere. Many of these are hugely valuable, finding our way about depends after all on recognising patterns, but our attachment to pattern can also limit creativity. And worse, it can encourage tribal thinking, bigotry, witch hunts, and conspiracy theories.

Should we we break free of our desire for pattern? If we were less attached to our set ways of thinking and more open to new patterns would we become more creative and more fulfilled? Or is pattern necessary both to our personal lives and society, and without which we would face a chaotic and threatening world?

Each IAI Live event is a full evening of enrichment - featuring the headline debate, speaker sessions, introductory talks, documentary screenings and the opportunity to join the debate yourself in our unique social spaces.

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  • Timetable:

18.00 BST - Headline Debate

18.50 BST - Q&A Session 

19.00 BST - Meet the Speakers Session

19.15 BST - Documentary Screening

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Maria Balaska

Maria Balaska is currently a research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire and at Åbo Akademi University and author of Wittgenstein and Lacan at the Limit: meaning and astonishment. Her second, forthcoming monograph, focuses on wonder and anxiety as encounters with nothing.

Maria Balaska is currently a research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire and at Åbo Akademi University. Her publications include the monograph Wittgenstein and Lacan at the Limit: meaning and astonishment, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019 and the edited collection Cora Diamond on Ethics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. Her second and forthcoming monograph focuses on wonder and anxiety as encounters with nothing that can offer an ontological insight; it brings together Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Kierkegaard.

Quassim Cassam

Perception expert

An expert on perception, knowledge an intellectual vices, Quassim Cassam has brought his philosophical insight to bear on issues ranging from terrorism to conspiracy theories. He is professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Cutting edge brain expert

Cutting edge brain expert Lisa Feldman Barrett has revolutionised the way we understand emotions, pioneering the theory of constructed emotion. She is a director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Emotion Review.

Hilary Lawson

Post-postmodern Philosopher

Hilary Lawson is a post-postmodern philosopher and a renowned critic of philosophical realism. He is best known for his work on reflexivity and his theory of Closure, which puts forward a non-realist metaphysics arguing that we close the openness of the world with our thought and language. Find out more at

Mind, Maps and Reality

The Truth about Risk
Exclusive Documentary Screening

Just about everything involves some risk, whether it's crossing the road, eating a pizza or climbing a mountain. But just how much are you risking with your everyday decisions?
Some risks are overblown, others are worse than we could ever imagine. Our fears of risk are played on by politicians and the media now more than ever.

On a mission to help us assess risk for ourselves, filmmaker Robert Lang is investigating how we measure and cope with risk in our modern times. He travels across the globe meeting the world’s top risk experts, from a Cambridge University statistician to an extreme ice climber, to discover the truth about the risks we face everyday.