Consciousness Cafe Upcoming Events
The Royal Seven Stars, The Plains, Totnes

During COVID 19 virus restrictions Consciousness Cafes will be held on the online zoom platform and registration will be free

29th October, 2020 - 7:30 to 9:00 pm 

Professor Edward Kelly on Expanding the Science of Consciousness--and Our Basic Picture of Reality

The received wisdom worldwide is a doctrine known as “physicalism”, which asserts that reality consists of tiny bits of matter moving in fields of force in accordance with mathematical laws, and that everything else that exists must arise somehow from that basic “stuff”. According to the associated physicalist “production” model of the brain/mind relationship, everything in our human minds and consciousness is manufactured by neurophysiological processes going on in our brains. Under ordinary conditions of everyday life, mental events and physical happenings in the brain are strongly correlated, and this has been widely interpreted as supporting the production model. However, a variety of less common but empirically validated experiences and abilities demonstrates the falsehood of the production model and leads to an alternative “filter”, or “transmission”, or “permission” model of the sort advanced by William James and various colleagues. According to this, the brain does not manufacture our everyday conscious mind but shapes, constrains, and focuses the operations of a more comprehensive mind and consciousness that is to some degree functionally, and perhaps, even ontologically distinct from it. This alternative conception of the brain-mind relation is at least equally consistent with the available psychobiological evidence, and more consistent than the production model with leading-edge developments in physics and philosophy. It also opens a path not only to the possibility of postmortem survival but to richer forms of metaphysics such as dual-aspect monism and outright idealism, in which consciousness is a fundamental – perhaps the most fundamental - constituent of reality.

Ed is currently a Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies within the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in psycholinguistics and cognitive science from Harvard in 1971 and spent the next 15-plus years working mainly in parapsychology, first in J. B. Rhine’s Institute for Parapsychology, then through the Department of Electrical Engineering at Duke, and finally through a private research institute in Chapel Hill. Between 1988 and 2002 he worked mainly in neuroscience, and returned to full-time to psychical research in 2002, serving as lead author of Irreducible Mind (2007), Beyond Physicalism (2015), and Consciousness Unbound (in press). He is currently engaged in intensive psychophysiological studies of paranormal or “psi” processes and psi-conducive altered states of consciousness in exceptional subjects.


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