The Divided Brain
An exceptional conference with Iain McGilchrist, world-renowned author of The Master and his Emissary. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, psychiatrist, lecturer and former Oxford literary scholar.
Cognition is not one unified relation between the mind and the world, but it is conditioned by the hemispherical division of the brain such that each of us perceives reality in two quite different, potentially conflicting ways. This has important consequences both for how we understand knowledge, belief, certainty, reason and feeling, and for the emphasis put on each of these dispositions at various stages in human evolution and culture.
Introduction and moderation by Ronan Sharkey, lecturer at lnstitut Catholique and Sciences Po.
About Iain McGilchrist :
Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist with a difference.
Born in 1953, he studied English literature at Oxford University. On graduating in 1975, he was elected to a “Prize Fellowship” at All Souls College Oxford, giving him the freedom to pursue interests in literature, but also in contemporary philosophy of mind.
In the early 1980s, he published his first book, in which he gave expression to a growing dissatisfaction with the destructive effects of literary criticism (Against Criticism, Faber, 1982).
He then left academia and began medical training, qualifying as a psychiatrist and subsequently practicing at hospitals and in private practice in the UK. An interest in brain lateralization and a chance encounter with Dr. John Cutting, author of The Right Cerebral Hemisphere and Psychiatric Disorders (Oxford, 1990) led to a prolonged period of research and writing (including renewed fellowships at Oxford, and a period studying neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins University in the US) culminating in his major work The Master and his Emissary. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Yale, 2009), a synthesis of cognitive neuroscience and cultural and intellectual history without parallel in recent academic writing. The book has been widely praised by scientists, philosophers and literary scholars and has recently gone to a second edition (2019), selling more than 100,000 copies worldwide.
Iain McGilchrist now lives by lecturing and giving seminars. A major documentary on his work came out early this year. He is at present completing a book on metaphysics for Penguin.