Speaker Series: A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind

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A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind

"A Reason for Reason" skeptical speaker series, in association with CFI, guides you through that dark place between your ears...

Please join us and tell fellow skeptics!

What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves

What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control?

Despite 2500 years of contemplation by the world’s greatest minds and the more recent phenomenal advances in basic neuroscience, neither neuroscientists nor philosophers have a decent understanding of what the mind is or how it works. The gap between what the brain does and the mind experiences remains uncharted territory. Robert Burton believes that while some neuroscience observations are real advances, others are overreaching, unwarranted, wrong-headed, self-serving, or just plain ridiculous, and often with the potential for catastrophic personal and social consequences. In his new book “A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind”, he brings together clinical observations, practical thought experiments, personal anecdotes, and cutting-edge neuroscience to decipher what neuroscience can tell us – and where it falls woefully short. At the same time, he offers a new vision of how to think about what the mind might be and how it works.

The speaker will discuss recent advances in neurology and how a number of innate biological mechanisms shape the very act of thinking, and, more importantly, how we then think about the very act of thinking. Understanding how these sensations create certain essential limitations of thought allows us to better understand what neuroscience can and cannot tell us about ourselves, both now and in the future.

About the Speaker:

Robert A. Burton, M.D. graduated from Yale University and UCSF medical school, where he also completed his neurology residency. At age thirty-three, he was appointed chief of the Division of Neurology at Mt. Zion-UCSF Hospital, where he subsequently became Associate Chief of the Department of Neurosciences. His previous writings include three critically acclaimed novels, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not, and a neuroscience and culture column at

NOTE: The speaker will bring a few copies of his books, but those wanting signed copies are encouraged to purchase before the talk and bring them. Dr. Burton will be happy to sign them...

WHEN: 7:30 PM, Monday, June 24, 2013 (Talk starts at 8 PM sharp)

WHERE: Downstairs at Kells Irish Pub, 530 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133 (CLICK FOR MAP)

Last Updated on Friday, 07 June 2013 00:44