Inner Space


19 January - Inner Space

Susan Greenfield 
Susan Greenfield

Department of Pharmacology, Oxford

Chemicals and Consciousness

Consciousness is now attracting the attention of scientists as well as philosophers. Despite the attempts of physicists and mathematicians to model consciousness in artificial systems, is a need to understand consciousness in a way that caters for the diverse range of chemicals operating in the brain; how else might one explain the various mood modifying and consciousness changing effects of specific drugs?

We need to develop a way of describing consciousness, that on the one hand caters for different momentary states of the physical brain, whilst at the same time respecting the subjective phenomenology that is all too often ignored by scientists.

In this talk, we shall explore a list of properties that would be required of the physical brain, to cater for the subjectivity of consciousness. We can then test this 'Rosetta Stone' model, in various scenarios of everyday life, and see how such scenarios might be interpreted in terms of functioning of the physical brain.

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