The second conversation in the Interdisciplinarity and the Future of the Mind series is with Evan Thompson, a writer and professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He works on the nature of the mind, the self and human experience. His work combines cognitive science, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, and cross-cultural philosophy, especially Asian philosophical traditions.
Zoom meeting ID: 695-290-0771
Thompson is the author of “Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy;” “Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind;” and “Colour Vision: A Study in Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Perception.” He also co-authored with Francisco J. Varela and Eleanor Rosch “The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience.” Evan is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
During this conversation, the audience will learn from Thompson’s experience working with neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers and scholars of Asian religions in developing an understanding of the “embodied mind.” Thompson has written critically about his experiences in his most recent book, “Why I am Not a Buddhist,” which raises a number of questions that will be covered in detail.
- What can we learn from the extensive dialogue between Buddhist practitioners and neuroscientists and apply more broadly to thinking about the limits and possibilities of interdisciplinary research?
- How can we build a bridge between science’s immense progresses in our knowledge of facts to the deep pluralism of value systems that we find in the world’s cultures?
- Buddhism offers a critique of our “overconfident belief that science tells us how the world really is in itself apart from how we’re able to measure and act upon it. What place should we give to see for metaphysical inquiry in the contemporary university?
- Thompson also wrote that “cosmopolitan thinkers move across different religious, scientific, philosophical and artistic traditions, and explore the presuppositions and commitments of those traditions.” Given it is common to think of the sciences and the humanities as two cultural “solitudes” (to use the language of C. P. Snow), in what sense can we understand interdisciplinarity as a form of cosmopolitanism?
Grappling with these questions directly addresses DKU’s aspiration to be a leading global university in China that takes innovation in curriculum, pedagogy and research to heart.
Interdisciplinarity and the Future of the Mind
Interdisciplinarity lies at the heart of Duke Kunshan’s innovative curriculum for the 21st century. James Miller, co-director of the Humanities Research Center, was recently appointed the university’s first associate dean of interdisciplinary strategy. Miller and students from the HumanSpace+ research group will embark on a series of conversations with leading theorists and practitioners of interdisciplinarity to explore how ties to innovation and future of knowledge.
For more information, please visit the HRC website.