Complete video available for free at http://fora.tv/2012/04/18/Incomplete_Nature_How_Mind_Emerged_From_Matter
Terrence Deacon, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses his new book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter, and the idea of teleology – the meaning of design and purpose in humanity and nature.
What are such things as emotion, purpose, and meaning? In this presentation, Terrence Deacon, neuroscientist and chair of UC Berkeley’s Anthropology Department, addresses such crucial questions in the study of consciousness.
Professor Deacon’s talk will focus on the central idea of his new book, “Incomplete Nature,” namely that key elements of consciousness (feelings, meaning, and purpose, among others) emerge from specific constraints on the physical processes of a nervous system.
As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The “Theory of Everything” that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left unexplained by the natural sciences because they lack the physical properties-such as mass, momentum, charge, and location-that are assumed to be necessary for something to have physical consequences in the world. This is an unacceptable omission. We need a “theory of everything” that does not leave it absurd that we exist.