On October 16, our talk was given by Prof. David Presti, and was entitled “What Can Neurobiology Say About Mind and Consciousness?”.
Our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions – the conscious awareness of our mental processes – is how we experience the world. How these mental phenomena are related to the cellular and molecular processes of our brain and body is one of the great unanswered questions of contemporary science. Research in neurobiology has produced vast amounts of knowledge about the structure and function of the brain and a stunningly beautiful picture has emerged of how the molecular and cellular processes in the brain are correlated with behavior. Still, the actual generation of consciousness remains a deep mystery. We will address this beauty and this mystery.
David Presti has been teaching neuroscience in the department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley for twenty years. In addition, he teaches as part of the Cognitive Sciences Program at Cal and for the last several years has also been teaching neuroscience to Tibetan monks in India. His primary research interest is the relation between mental phenomena (such as what is called consciousness) and brain physiology, the so-called “mind-body problem”. He won the 2006 Golden Apple award for outstanding teaching, which honors professors “who teach with energy — inspiring, demonstrating passion, and showing care in the classroom”.
Professor Presti requested that we not record his lecture, so unfortunately it’s not available online.