Keith Frankish is a philosopher and writer. He is an Honorary Reader in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, a Visiting Research Fellow (formerly Senior Lecturer) at The Open University, and an Adjunct Professor with the Brain and Mind Program in Neurosciences at the University of Crete. His interests lie mainly in philosophy of mind, and he is well known for defending an illusionist view of phenomenal consciousness and a two-level theory of the human mind. In this exclusive interview he discusses his ideas on the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness.
Ryota Kanai PhD is a neuroscientist working on the computational principles underlying consciousness and the brain, and the founder and CEO of an AI startup, Araya, Inc. in Tokyo. His goal is to create artificial consciousness using intrinsic motivation, deep neural networks, and integrated information while taking inspirations from neuroscience. He formerly led a cognitive neuroscience lab at Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex. In this exclusive interview he discusses his ideas and work in trying to understand consciousness by creating it.
“To avoid killing its essence, rather than as a specimen to pin down and dissect, it is best to think of spirituality as related to experience – often subtle, but also usually powerful and emotionally charged experience. The spiritual dimension is therefore better considered as an adventure playground to explore, full of fun, challenge and excitement, of opportunities to test oneself, to learn and to grow.”
Larry Culliford was a hospital doctor and GP before becoming a psychiatrist. In 1998, he helped found the ‘spirituality and psychiatry’ special interest group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In this exclusive interview he discusses his experience and ideas into understanding the psychology of spirituality.
“The dialogue between contemporary art and spirituality is broader and more complex than it was during modernism because contemporary art is more varied, and because spirituality as a discourse is more diverse including religious traditions that go beyond Judaeo-Christianity.”
Dr Rina Arya is a Reader at the University of Wolverhampton who is interested in the visual and material culture of religion. In this exclusive interview she discusses nature of the dialogue between art and spirituality, how they come together and what form they take.
“The materialist worldview, which has dominated science and academia over the last few centuries, has run its course. At last the tired old materialist paradigm has started to crumble, and a new paradigm has begun to emerge.”
Mario Beauregard, PhD., is a neuroscientist currently affiliated with the Department of Psychology, University of Arizona. He was the first neuroscientist to use neuroimaging to investigate the neural underpinnings of conscious and voluntary emotion regulation. Because of his research into the neuroscience of consciousness, he was selected (2000) by the World Media Net to be one of the “One Hundred Pioneers of the 21st Century.” In addition, his groundbreaking research on the neurobiology of spiritual experiences has received international media coverage, and a documentary film has been produced about his work (The Mystical Brain, 2007).
“Our view of the natural world has changed out of all recognition from, say, 500 years ago. And insofar as theology has things to say about the natural world through its doctrine of creation, theology has had to take that change on board. On the other hand, science can say almost nothing of substance about the core issues in theology, because they concern a reality that is literally out of this world, by definition beyond the reach of science.”
As a physicist working in a theological environment, Mark Harris is interested in the complex ways that science and religion relate to each other. He runs the Science and Religion programme at the University of Edinburgh.
The Critical Connections symposium was held at Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Creative Industries Precinct in March 2017. The symposium provided a platform for thinkers working across art, design and STEM to articulate key issues and share interdisciplinary strategies, via four panels: Research, Learning & Teaching, Ethics, and Cultural Engagement. This article provides an overview of each panellist’s key arguments and insight into current viewpoints that require further scrutiny.
“Utilizing a dialectical approach in both my studio practice and research, my aim is to move beyond the contemporary paradigm of postmodernism towards an artistic discourse that oscillates between a “modern enthusiasm and postmodern irony,” between unity and multiplicity, totality and fragmentation, clarity and ambiguity, and reason and romanticism.”
Jared Vaughan Davis often deals with topics ranging from epistemology, mythology, ancient and modern cosmology, and the science of ‘belief’.
Julius Colwyn is a nomad, in between disciplines, walking the strange places between the bodies of knowledge, a thought ecologist.
His work is concerned with how we grow an understanding, how we can incubate a meaning within a metaphor, a metaphor in a pattern, the pattern within a form, the form within a structure, the structure within a space.
His theoretical background is in art history and literature, and his artistic practice engages scientists of various disciplines, exploring questions about reality and human nature that lie between disciplinary boundaries.
Featuring – Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals and the art of roughness ; Keith Critchlow: Cambridge Mosque Geometer ; Gavin Schmidt: The emergent patterns of climate change ; Max Tegmark: Consciousness is a mathematical pattern ; and Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs.