Episode Date March 21, 2023
Featured Guest Anil Seth
Featured Book "Consciousness Explained " by Daniel C. Dennett

Episode Summary

Anil Seth reading from Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained, and discussing the concept of the brain as a prediction machine & how consciousness controls our personal navigation of life.

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I read recently that there’s a drop in the number of people going to university to study the Arts, particularly Literature, because, “It’s just not practical.” I did both an Undergraduate and a Master’s Degree in Literature, and I know that it’s influenced who I am and how I see the world every day. In my undergraduate years, I learnt through an autobiography course that there’s no static sense of who you are. We become who we are through the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. What intrigues me is figuring out which aspects of who I am it’s helpful to commit to, and where and when the adventure is in letting in ambiguity and variation. Sometimes, it turns out, wisdom is not increased certainty, but actually a willingness to recognise all that is uncertain.

Anil Seth is a professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at The University of Sussex. He is the author of a wonderful book called Being You, and the creator of The Perception Census, a new study aiding in understanding how we actually experience the world.

Anil reads two pages from ‘Consciousness Explained’ by Daniel Dennett. [reading begins at 17:20]

Hear us discuss:

  • What is consciousness? [3:07]
  • “We rely on metaphors and science, but we inevitably get misled by them.” [25:10]
  • “It seems to us that we experience the world as it really is.” [29:13]
  • What it means to ‘grow wise.’ [34:17]
  • The fragility of consciousness. [35:45]
  • The nature of the Self: “Part of our sense of self is co-constructed through the minds of others.”  [37:09]

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Anil Seth | Website | The Perception Census | Being You: A New Science of Consciousness | 30-Second Brain: The 50 most mind-blowing ideas in neuroscience, each explained in half a minute

Daniel C. Dennett | Consciousness Explained

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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