Newswise — Since ancient times, two types of views have approached the nature of consciousness, the reality it conveys and our place in the universe. In the West, consciousness was seen as a by-product of brain activity, a view now espoused by computational materialists including Christof Koch, Giulio Tononi and Daniel Dennett. In Eastern philosophy, consciousness was seen as primary, intrinsic to the universe, a view taken in modern times by mind-body medicine pioneer Deepak Chopra, but also alluded to by quantum biological proponents such as Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff.
The two views will clash at the 20 year anniversary conference ‘Toward a Science of Consciousness” which kicks off April 21 at the Marriott University Park Hotel at the University of Arizona in Tucson. A thousand participants from 60 countries will attend the gathering which features a ‘who’s who’ speaker list of scientists, philosophers and celebrities, social events, and a dozen media groups from around the word. See www.consciousness.arizona.edu
Among the innovations are launching of a web-based TV channel devoted to the conference, and study of consciousness. The channel, ‘Consciousness Central’, will show plenary lectures, interviews with key figures, commentary and analysis, clips from previous conferences, scenes from the consciousness art show, poetry slam, ‘zombie blues’, and parties. The show will air on Channel 3 in TVs at the hotel, and will be streamed on www.ustream.tv/channel/consciousness-central-tv
A daily round-up will summarize key points, and offer clips, analysis, commentary and debate. The show will be hosted by Nick Day (the ‘Man from Mindville’), and include roving correspondent Vanda Mikolowski (the ‘Consciousness Comedienne’), science sociologist Cameron Keys, and Baba Brinkman, the ‘Reductionist Rapper’.
Speakers and prospective interviewees and commentators include Sir Roger Penrose, David Chalmers, Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Deepak Chopra, Petra Stoerig, Sue Blackmore, Henry Markram, Karl Deisseroth, Christof Koch, Giulio Tononi, Max Tegmark, Sam Parnia, George Mashour, Rebecca Goldstein, Natasha Vita-More, Anirban Bandyopadhyay, Stuart Hameroff and many others. Material will be edited for a TV series on the science of consciousness and/or feature documentary. Consciousness Central is sponsored by Conscious Pictures, The Chopra Foundation, Mouna Films, The Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona and Newswire FM.