In this 50-minute talk, Dr. Edward Hundert presents a synthesis of ideas from philosophers, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists in an effort to find a common language through which these diverse views of the human mind can contribute insights one to the next. Drawing on thinkers from Plato, Kant, Freud, Hegel, and Hume to modern neuroscientists and researchers in artificial intelligence, Dr. Hundert compares the ways various fields interpret the “nature-nurture debate” around the question of how our basic concepts of the world find their way into our brains. He concludes by comparing all of these cognitive theories of knowledge with moral theories of justice, challenging us to appreciate just how interactive the relationship is – in the realms of both knowledge and values – between the human brain and the world we share.
A psychiatrist, ethicist and educator, Dr. Hundert is Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics, at Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the faculty of the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. Dr. Hundert holds degrees in mathematics and the history of science and medicine from Yale University, in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University, and in medicine from Harvard Medical School. Many of the ideas in this lecture were first put forward in his books, Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience: Three Approaches to the Mind (Oxford University Press) and Lessons from an Optical Illusion: On Nature and Nurture, Knowledge and Values (Harvard University Press).
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