THINK! Book Club: Kenneth R. Miller, “The Human Instinct,” Session #3
Completing our discussion of “The Human Instinct” by Kenneth R. Miller, this session will cover Chapters 6 through 8. Chapter 6, entitled “Consciousness,” addresses the challenge of explaining that phenomenon, and especially the “hard problem,” how physical organisms can have a subjective inner world of conscious experience. This problem was nicely expressed by the title of philosopher Thomas Nagel’s famous article, “What is it like to be a bat?” Consciousness is a prerequisite for free will, another conundrum and the topic of Miller’s Chapter 7. We’ll consider whether a materialistic view of human mind and thought entails determinism regarding human behavior, or whether there’s a way of saving our felt sense of agency without resorting to spiritual or other non-physical explanations. Our discussion will conclude with an assessment of Chapter 8, a final statement of the author’s intent: To provide a scientifically sound evolutionary account of human thought and behavior that encompasses thinking, reason, consciousness, free will and all the other capacities that make us–in our own eyes at least–quite special.
It is not necessary for you to have read the Miller chapters or to have attended previous sessions for you to join in, learn from, contribute to, and enjoy our discussion. So if you’re curious about or interested in human consciousness and free well, do join us!
This event is sponsored by HumanistsMN. If you are not already a member of this organization, please consider joining to help us cover our costs and build the humanist movement. Sign up by clicking on “Join” at humanistsmn.org.