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Short Course no. 15 - Neurosciences and Religion

Westminster College: July 3-5, 2009

Deadline for applications: June 5, 2009
Deadline for Bursary applications: May 8, 2009

Aim of Course

This short week-end course is for neuroscientists,cognitive scientists and psychologistswho want to explore the philosophical, theological and ethical implications ofscientific ideas; and for philosophers and theologianswith a similar interest. We have brought together a group of world experts as speakers and together will be exploring fundamental questions of human existence which arise out of the relationship between human consciousness and our bodily make-up and evolutionary history.

Speakers (listed in alphabetical order) and topics

See multimedia items for this course or click on specific talk title in the course schedule to see available resources for that talk.

Click on a speaker's name to obtain brief biographical details.


The course will be held at Westminster College, Madingley Rd, Cambridge, CB3 0AA. Click here to obtain further details about the College.

Westminster College is housed in an impressive late 19th century grade II listed building situated in two acres of gardens within easy walking distance of Cambridge City Centre, the celebrated 'Backs' and other University Colleges. It is located a few hundred metres from St. Edmund's College, the home of the Faraday Institute.

Westminster College is on the main ring road within easy access off the M11 and A14 and has on-site parking. The College is a short taxi ride from the train and bus stations. Airport coach or train from Stansted Airport (the most convenient airport for Cambridge) takes 30-40 minutes. Location map for Westminster College.

Course Schedule

Friday July 3
6.00 pmRegistration (cont.)
6.45 pmDinner
7.45 pmIntroduction
8.00 pmProf. Warren Brown: Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? The Brain,the Mind and Non-reductive Physicalism
9.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
9.30 pmDrinks Reception - Getting to Know You
Saturday July 4
8.00 amBreakfast
9.00 amProf. Peter Clarke (deceased): The Brain as a Neuronal Machine
10.00 amQuestions and Discussion
10.30 amCoffee Break
11.00 amProf Justin Barrett: The Evolution of Religious Brains
12.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
1.00 pmLunch
2.00 pmDr Nicholas Gibson: Psychological Science and Knowledge of God
3.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
3.30 pmTea Break
4.00 pmRevd Prof. Alasdair Coles: Brain Imaging and Religious Experience
5.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
5.30 pmProf. Warren Brown: The neuroscience of virtue
6.30 pmQuestions and Discussion
7.00 pmGala Dinner
8.30 pmPanel Discussion with 5 Speakers Questions and Discussion
10.00 pmBar and more Discussion
Sunday July 5
8.00 amBreakfast
9.00 amProf. Peter Clarke (deceased): Genetics, Brain Plasticity and Personhood
10.00 amQuestions and Discussion
10.30 amCoffee Break
11.00 amProf Justin Barrett: The Nature of Childhood Theism
12.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
1.00 pmLunch
2.00 pm
3.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
3.30 pmTea Break
4.00 pmDepart