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The Debate: The Perception Bias

Monday 9th October - 06:00 PM BST

The Debate: The Perception Bias

Is bias at the heart of understanding the world?

We think there is a correct way of seeing the world, and we look to eradicate any bias that might vitiate this. But is this an error? Psychologists argue that perceptual biases are at the heart of our understanding the world. Moreover, philosophers going back to Kant have argued that without the imposition of human concepts on sensation, there would be no perception and no consciousness.

Should we reject the desire to overcome bias, and instead see our perception of the world as one particular outcome of an extended process of trial and error? Should we see our bias as central to what makes us unique as an individual? Or is it essential that we seek to uncover our biases to see the world as it really is?

Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, leading Harvard researcher Ellen Langer, and post post-modern philosopher Hilary Lawson lock horns in our headline debate. 


17:15 BST - The Opening Interview: The Meaning of Memory The Lounge

18:00 BST - The Debate: The Perception Bias arena

19:20 BST - The Solo Talk: The fantasy of reality arena

19:30 BST - Music: George Cheetham stage

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Daniel Kahneman

Nobel-Winning Psychologist

Daniel Kahneman is a nobel-prize winning economist and psychologist known for his groundbreaking work in behavioural economics. He is author of several international best-selling books including Thinking, Fast and Slow and Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement.

Ellen Langer

Trailblazing psychologist

Ellen Langer is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and the author of The Mindful Body. Among other honours, she is the recipient of three distinguished scientist awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Liberty Science Genius Award. She is widely known as the mother of mindfulness.

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

The Debate: The Perception Bias

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