Speaker: Yuko Ishihara
Modern western thought has given consciousness a special place in the understanding of human beings. According to Descartes, it is the fact that we are "thinking things" that sets us apart from unconscious things like a desk or a pen. While scientists and philosophers today disagree with Descartes on what constitutes the nature of the thinking thing, most people agree on the basic Cartesian assumption: that consciousness is a kind of "thing."
But can we not question this assumption? Putting aside all theories, our direct experience teaches us that consciousness does not primarily appear as a thing. Rather, it appears more as a ground or "place" wherein our experience occurs. Drawing on insights from twentieth-century philosophers like Martin Heidegger and Nishida Kitaro who developed a philosophy of place, let us think together about what it really means to understand consciousness not as a "thing" but as a "place." Perhaps such ideas can open doors towards a better understanding on the nature of consciousness.
WeWork Park South, New York, NY
Wednesday, October 11, 6 p.m.