Posted: Friday, 30th March 2012
Dr Iain McGilchrist
DOES human biology threaten our race’s very existence?
Psychiatrist and philosopher Iain McGilchrist asks this and other bold questions at the Vice Chancellor’s Annual Lecture at MMU on Wednesday, April 11.
Staff and students are invited to the event which will start with welcome drinks in the Geoffrey Manton Atrium followed by the lecture, from 6 – 7.30pm.
Iain McGilchrist is author of the widely-acclaimed ‘thought-experiment’The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World in which he argues that the ruling traits of any era depend on the dominance of either the left (analytic, detached, factual) or the right (integrative, holistic, "spiritual") hemispheres of the brain.
Ancient Greece to modern science
If he scorns popular clichés based on this division, he also applies a modified form to individual minds and the biases of whole societies, from ancient Greece to modern science.
For him, the "triumph" of the left hemisphere threatens our very survival. It makes a striking fable. But how is it true? As metaphor, or as metaphysics, his great divide at least takes us on an epic ride.
A former Oxford literature professor, our speaker’s work on the brain is shaped by a deep questioning of the role of art and culture.
On the basis of research in birds, animals and humans, Dr Iain McGilchrist will propose that there is a Darwinian advantage to the division of the brain’s two hemispheres, originating in the need to pay two quite different types of attention to the world simultaneously: one enabling effective manipulation of pieces within the environment, the other enabling us to be aware of the whole.
The lecture may be of particular interests to those studying and working in the fields of health, psychology, education, sociology and philosophy although all staff and students are welcome.