EP 154 Iain McGilchrist on The Matter With Things

Jim talks with Iain McGilchrist about his new book, The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World

Jim talks with Iain McGilchrist about his new book, The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World. They discuss issues created by having one word for “know,” the separation, asymmetry, & function of brain hemispheres, deprogramming pop-cultural right-brain/left-brain caricatures, the need for two kinds of attention, vigilance vs focus, ambiguity vs certainty, both/and vs either/or, pessimism vs optimism, arrogance vs humility, opponent processes & cross-inhibition between hemispheres, depth in space, time, and emotion, function of frontal cortices, lateralization of emotions, reductionism vs complexity, process philosophy, critiquing machine models of life, correspondence theory vs coherence theory, the error of truth as correctness, judgment & its replacement by bureaucracy, reclaiming imagination, the role of intuition in science, comparing the Renaissance & the Enlightenment, a complexity view on building a new social OS, appreciating C.S. Peirce, traditions as the currents of coherent innovation, differentiation within unity, relevance realization, discrete vs continuous time, Searle’s analogy between digestion & consciousness, the problem of consciousness arising from non-consciousness, inanimacy as the limit case of animacy, Edelman’s idea of primary consciousness, whether intelligence can exist without consciousness, integrative information theory, ontology of values, and much more.

Iain McGilchrist is a former Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Consultant Emeritus of the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital, London, a former research Fellow in Neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Baltimore, and a former Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Stellenbosch. He now lives on the Isle of Skye, off the coast of North West Scotland, where he continues to write, and lectures worldwide. He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains.