The Ghost in the Machine? Consciousness and the Nature of the Soul
ISCAST–NZCIS Conversations 2021: SERIES 2 (Science and Christianity in Conversation)
Dr Antonios Kaldas
Lecturer in Philosophy
St. Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College
ISCAST and NZ Christians In Science are teaming up for a second series of Conversations this year. There will be 10 weekly online sessions where some of the most relevant and fascinating topics at the intersection of science and Christianity will be explored.
ISCAST is a network of people, from students to distinguished academics, exploring the interface of science, technology, and Christian faith. New Zealand Christians in Science, Te Kāhui Whakapono ki Nga Kaipūtaiao o Te Motu, are a group of scientists in industry and the academy who are Christians.
Thursday 14 October 2021
THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE? CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE NATURE OF THE SOUL
Dr Antonios Kaldas
The most direct experience you have is “what it is like to be you.” And yet, a computer that is smarter than you (in some ways, at least) seems to have no such experience. This ability to experience is called “consciousness” and is perhaps the most fascinating unsolved puzzle in human inquiry today. In recent years, the “Hard Problem” of Consciousness in philosophy and science has proven surprisingly intractable. In response, some have suggested stunningly weird solutions; others have suggested that it may in principle be insoluble (at least for the human intellect). Antonios will briefly lay out the Hard Problem of Consciousness and then discuss some of the interesting turns this line of research has taken against the context of Christian conceptions of the soul, selfhood, and personhood.
Thursday 25 November 2021
METAPHYSICS: THE MISSING PARTNER IN THE SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY DIALOGUE
Professor Neil Ormerod
Dialogue between scientists and theologians has become increasingly common as both groups seek some reproachment from the hostilities initiated by fundamentalists and anti-religious scientists (e.g., Dawkins, Krauss). However, there is often a missing dialogue partner in the discussion, philosophy, or more precisely metaphysics. Neither scientific nor theological, metaphysical assumptions often remain unaddressed by either party. Perhaps it is time for metaphysics to get reinserted into the dialogue.