Art, brain and human nature: what can we know about ourselves?
Discussion with neuroscientist and Einstein Visiting Fellow Vittorio Gallese, novelist and essayist Siri Hustvedt, and philosopher and moderator Gert Scobel
04 June 2018, 7 pm
What is the mind? This fundamental question remains unanswered in both philosophy and science. Is the mind part of the body or is it something separate from it? Are the brain and the mind the same thing? Can the mind be disembodied into an algorithm and then realized in a machine? If the brain is the key to mind and consciousness, how much do we actually know about the brain and what does it have to do with “the self“? Why does art matter? Why do we tell stories? What is the relationship between art and science? Is configuring the mind a feminist issue? Why are these questions urgent at this particular moment in the culture? These are some of the issues that will be debated by novelist and essayist Siri Hustvedt, neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese, and philosopher Gert Scobel.
Vittorio Gallese is professor of psychobiology at the University of Parma, Italy, and professor in experimental aesthetics at the University of London, UK. Since 2015 he has been Einstein Visiting Fellow at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, where he set up a research group with a multidisciplinary approach to the development of identity, focusing on self, intersubjectivity, social cognition and their neural bases. The project’s general theme is the development of socio-cultural identity. Gallese is one of the discoverers of “mirror neurons”. He received numerous renowned prices and awards.
Siri Hustvedt is an American novelist and essayist. She is the author of a book of poetry, three collections of essays, a work of non-fiction, and six novels, including the international bestsellers “What I Loved” and “The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves”. Her most recent novel “The Blazing World” won The Los Angeles Book Prize for fiction. In 2012 she was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.
Gert Scobel is a German journalist, moderator, author and philosopher. He holds a degree in philosophy and theology from the University of California, Berkeley and the Sankt Georgen Graduate School in Frankfurt. Since 2016 he is honorary professor of philosophy at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. Scobel is the author of several books about philosophy. He is one of Germany’s best-known science journalists and moderators and has won various prices like the Grimme Award.
Please note that pictures are taken during the event and used for editorial and promotional purposes of the Einstein Foundation. By registering you agree to their publication.
Credits: Florian Büttner, CC BY 3.0/Luigi Novi, CC BY-SA 4.0/Elke Wetzig