Consciousness & the Brain: John Searle at TEDxCERN

Are you curious to know what consciousness is and is not? If so, then this is the talk for you. John Searle, one of the world’s great philosophers of mind and language, has spent fifty years thinking about it.

So where is he coming from on all this, what is his stance?

He points out that much of modern philosophy has tried to deny the existence of consciousness, “it is just an illusion”. but he does not agree with this. The problem is that Philosophy has been trapped by a false dichotomy: that, on the one hand, the world consists of nothing but objective particles in fields of force, but that yet, on the other hand, consciousness is clearly a subjective first-person experience. So how does he resolve this?

Searle says simply that both are true: consciousness is a real subjective experience, caused by the physical processes of the brain. Perhaps the best term to describe that is biological naturalism.

Here is his talk …

Oh OK, a few words on TEDx … TED is TED, it has its own reputation, and as part of that there is now the growing TEDx movement, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. There has been a bit of concern regarding some TEDx conferences being more than a tad unscientific, but the TED folks have clamped down on that by giving some great guidance.

The fact that CERN (you do know who they are I hope), are hosting a TEDx means that you can be darn sure that the standard will indeed be very high, and to verify that, you need look no further than their list of speakers.


  • All the talks given are now available … free … for you to watch – just go here.

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