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The Biology of Consciousness
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Renegade husband and wife philosophers Pat and Paul Churchland met forty years ago in a college Plato class. Their instincts as philosophers — then and now — run outside the philosophy mainstream. Where most philosophers looked to reason and logic to apprehend the human mind, the Churchlands looked — and look — to science.

There is no independent “mind”, these two practically say, just the human brain, three pounds of tissue and water, firing away behind all our emotions, beliefs, actions. Consciousness itself, they say, is straight biology, a machine.

Once, that sounded esoteric. Now, it’s on the frontline of debate over law, soul and life.

This hour On Point: Pat and Paul Churchland on the mind as science.

Guests:

Paul and Patricia Churchland, professors of philosophy at the University of California at San Diego.

Colin McGinn, professor of philosophy at the University of Miami.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • fredericc

    I think

    Therefore

    I is an illusion

  • Steven Bradley

    Now, we must add a new definition to the phrase “deus ex machina”.

  • Mary Lopez

    I don’t think that it is an accident that the Time cover image is of a young woman and a 3 year old boy. Why not a 3 yr old girl?This has very clear sexual overtones and is designed to titillate and not to provoke real discussion. I find the naked manipulation to be pretty revolting.

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Apr 18, 2014
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP)

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Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

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