Think Corner: Neuroscience and Philosophy with Peter Hacker, Helsinki June 4, 2018


Public event at Think Corner / Tiedekulma


Professor PETER HACKER (Oxford and Kent), professor Kai Kaila MA, docent Thomas Wallgren, Pii Telakivi and professor Ilkka Niiniluoto, June 4th, 17.00-18.30 (5-6.30 pm).

The debate about the implications of the recent advances in neuroscience for our understanding of human nature has been called one of the great debates of our times.

The questions that are raised have great intellectual appeal. They are often also accompanied by a strong moral fervour as when it is asked:

Who thinks, me or my brain?

Can machines feel pain?

What is the difference between declaring a person dead, euthanasia and murder in the case of prolonged coma?

Peter Hacker has been at the very forefront in contemporary philosophical debates about these matters since the 1980s. He is known especially for his arguments to the effect that many claims that have gained currency in the debates about the brain, the mind and persons are neither true nor false. According to Hacker persons feel pain and people think. If we attribute pain to the brain or thinking to machines we make grammatical errors. The result is nonsense; mere noise that is not even a candidate for truth or falsehood.

Professor Hacker will introduce the discussion. There will be comments by Kai Kaila, academy professor in neurophysiology, by Pii Telakivi, PhD student at the University of Helsinki working on the philosophy of mind and by Thomas Wallgren, director of the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives. Ilkka Niiniluoto, emeritus of theoretical philosophy and a specialist in the philosophy of science will chair the session.

The event is organised by The von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives of the University of Helsinki.

On Tuesday June 5th at 16.15 (4.15 pm) professor Hacker will give the Von Wright Lecture in the Small Hall, Main Building (Pieni juhlasali) of the University of Helsinki.

Questions about both events may be addressed to Bernt Österman, bernt.osterman (a)