Science and Spirit in Stockholm

Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (7-8):7-8 (2011)
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I find it hard to say whether TSC this year was the most balanced or the most biased since the first I attended in 1998. That year there were 35 plenary talks, of which 27 were distinctly materialist — that is, they assumed that consciousness ‘arises’ from ‘physical’ processes in the brain. This year there were also 35 plenaries, with 24 devoted to physicalist accounts. I cannot claim absolute precision for these figures, because it is not always easy to make black-and-white distinctions. Research by Imants Barušs (2008) has shown that many scientists have non-physicalist beliefs but do not say so for fear of jeopardising their careers. In that case they may present apparently physicalist papers although physicalist assumptions are not present.

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