What is consciousness?

A workshop organized by Kathinka Evers, Cyriel Pennartz, Johan Storm and Alain Destexhe

Which kind of creatures have it, and how is it mediated by the brain?

Insight into the nature and mechanisms of consciousness is central to understanding the human brain, and is widely regarded as one of the deepest unsolved problems in science. It has been called “the ultimate intellectual challenge of this new millennium” and “the major unsolved problem in biology”, with wide-ranging philosophical, theoretical, clinical, ethical, and social implications. In the Human Brain Project (HBP), the investigation of consciousness spans different scales and levels, from mechanisms at the cellular-circuit levels, up to the whole brain interacting with the environment. Thus, consciousness presents us with a number of conceptual, theoretical and philosophical issues, such as which criteria should be fulfilled by animals, humans, and possibly machines (robots) to qualify as «conscious». This workshop, the first of a series, will focus on these different levels and approaches. We would like to bring together several communities, both within and outside HBP, interested in the biophysical and systems-level mechanisms by which brain circuits generate perception and other manifestations of awareness, as well as in bridging the gap between physiology, systems function, and the contents of subjective experiences. Both theoretical and experimental aspects will be examined, and may help to constrain modeling of perception and consciousness.


Speakers: Lionel Naccache, Georg Northoff, Anil Seth, Antti Revonsuo

HBP speakers: Jean-Pierre Changeux, Gustavo Deco, Alain Destexhe, Kathinka Evers, Steven Laureys, Marcello Massimini, Karlheinz Meier, Cyriel Pennartz, Tony Prescott, Florian Röhrbein,  Maria-Victoria Vives Sanchez,  Johan Storm.


Due to a limited number of places, registration is free however mandatory

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