Stanford Neuroscientist Bill Newsome at Trinity Western University (January 30, 2018).

William Newsome (Stanford University), “Of Two Minds”

In Blogs by Arnold E. Sikkema0 Comments

On January 30 & 31, CSCA co-sponsored three lectures by Stanford University neuroscientist Bill Newsome, along with UBC’s Graduate & Faculty Christian Forum and Trinity Western University’s Faculties of Natural & Applied Sciences and of Humanities & Social Sciences. At TWU he also spoke in a psychology class, conversed with faculty and graduate students over coffee, and advised and encouraged undergraduate students over dinner. He also gave a neuroscience research colloquium at UBC entitled “Detecting ‘changes-of-mind’ from neural population recordings in prefrontal cortex.”

His TWU public lectures were entitled “Can Subjective Awareness (I.e. Consciousness!) Be Satisfactorily Accounted for by Modern Neuroscience?”and “Of Two Minds: a Neuroscientist Balances Science and Faith” and the second was repeated for UBC’s GFCF.

Based on his years of experience in studying visual perception, Newsome explained some of the challenges faced in advancing the study of the intricate and mysterious connections between sensation, perception, awareness, consciousness. We bump up into significant questions relating our undeniable mental experiences and the biological activity of the brain, but he expects the full explanation (and even description) to remain beyond our reach.

His lectures at TWU were recorded and will appear on our YouTube channel in due course. Having been asked by audience members if he had written on these topics, Dr. Newsome noted his two book chapters:

    • “Life of science, Life of faith,” Chapter 36 of Visions of Discovery: New Light on Physics, Cosmology, and Consciousness, ed. R.Y. Chiao, M.L. Cohen, A.J. Leggett, W.D. Phillips, and C.L. Harper, Jr. (Cambridge University Press, 2010): PDF (provided by Newsome)
      • earlier version presented at ASA 2008: PDF
    • “Neuroscience, Explanation, and the Problem of Free Will”, Ch. 2.2 in Moral Psychology: Free Will and Moral Responsibility, ed. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (MIT Press, 2014): PDF
    • video lecture with same title here

You can also watch his plenary address at the 2016 conference of the American Scientific Affiliation, held at Azusa Pacific University, here. There is significant overlap between that lecture and his TWU & UBC lecture “Of Two Minds.”