Fathoming the Mind: A Closer Look at the Formation of Self
Alison Gopnik (University of California, Berkeley), Kenneth R. Miller, Carl Safina, Steve Pauilson

January 17, 2023, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
New York Academy of Sciences

1216 Fifth Avenue
New York 10029
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


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Recent research in animal behavior and culture shows that the mental capacities of animals have been largely undervalued. And yet it is hard to resist the impression of a gap—a difference in nature rather than degree—between humans and non-humans when it comes to certain tasks involving abstraction, planning, sustained attention, or the transmission of culture over generations. How different is the human mind from the minds of non-human animals? The key to these issues may lie in the capacity of the mind to relate to itself as a "self" that bears desires and intentions, along with agency and purpose. But how is this compatible with the recognition that much of our mental activity occurs at an unconscious or subconscious level, below the threshold of awareness and reflection? Is our perceived unity of self or mind an illusion we entertain for practical purposes?

Psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik, ecologist Carl Safina, and biologist Kenneth R. Miller explore what separates humans from other animals in relation to the construct of "self."

Reception to follow.

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January 17, 2023, 7:00pm EST

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