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Human minds, animal minds, and alien minds: exploring the outer limits of thought

Age suitable for: All ages

Date and Time (UK time):
12/11/2021 18:00-19:30

Join Dr Kurt Sylvan, Philosophy at the University of Southampton, for this online event that explores the philosophy of neurodiversity, and the possible limits of human thought and communication.

There is striking cognitive diversity in nature, within and across species. We can also use thought experiments to imagine more radical forms of cognitive diversity-alien minds that might be fundamentally different from anything we've encountered in nature.

To what extent is it possible for beings with different kinds of minds to share a world, or at least to communicate with each other? Are there hard limits to the possibility of communication among cognitively different beings? What might such limits be, and what could explain them?

We will contemplate these questions from the perspective of philosophy, cognitive science, art, and literature.

This interactive event in Blackboard Collaborate will consist of a short talk, a Padlet exercise, and a free-form discussion.

After explaining some of the philosophical and cognitive scientific backdrop to the philosophy of neurodiversity, we will consider your ideas about what fundamentally different forms of thought might look like, how we can imagine and represent forms of thought different from our own, and how we might go about communicating across lines of fundamental cognitive difference.