Patricia Churchland: Eliminative Materialism, Neurophilosophy & the Origins of Conscience & Morality


Patricia Churchland is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego and an Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute. She holds degrees from Oxford University, the University of Pittsburg and the University of British Columbia. She has contributed to the fields of philosophy of neuroscience, philosophy of the mind and neuroethics. Her research has centered on the interface between neuroscience and philosophy with a current focus on the association of morality and the social brain. She has been awarded the MacArthur Prize, The Rossi Prize for Neuroscience and the Prose Prize for Science. She has authored multiple pioneering books has has served as President of the American Philosophical Association and the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

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(0:00) - Introduction
(1:28) - What is consciousness?
(7:32) - Eliminative Materialism
(14:55) - Neurophilosophy
(17:57) - Atypical brains
(21:44) - If mind is brain, psychiatry implications
(28:58) - Evolution of awareness & sleep
(34:23) - Origins of moral intuition & a conscience
(41:31) - Why the transition to neuroethics?
(50:58) - Neuroexistentialism & free will
(59:10) - Pat's religious/spiritual views
(1:06:41) - Immediate social altruism vs effective altruism
(1:09:51) - Selfish gene
(1:12:58) - Mental health
(1:17:41) - New brain data
(1:21:36) - AI
(1:23:11) - Pat's book recommendations
(1:26:56) - Conclusion