Seminar:   “I Am” and “It Is” – Reflections on the Embodied Subject

Thursday 31st January 2019, 6pm, Maudsley Philosophy Group seminar.

Boardroom (1st Floor), Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, 16 de Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF.

Speaker: Professor Raymond Tallis, philosopher and poet, novelist and cultural critic, physician and clinical neuroscientist.

Abstract: Human beings are neither disembodied spirits nor ghosts in biological machines. We are, as many philosophers, notably Merleau-Ponty, have argued ‘embodied subjects’: the subject and the body are like therecto and verso of a sheet of paper. Nevertheless, the relationship between the ‘I am’ of the person and the ‘It is’ of the body is very complex. I will discuss different aspects of this relationship. In addition, I will examine how our experience of embodiment may be the basis of our sense of the reality of extra-corporeal material objects as existing independently of our experiences.

About the speaker:Raymond Tallis was professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Manchester and a consultant physician in the healthcare of the elderly in Salford. His national roles have included: consultant advisor in the healthcare of the elderly to the Chief Medical Officer; a key part in developing the National Service Framework for Older People; membership of the NICE appraisal committee; chairman of the Royal College of Physicians committee on ethics in medicine; chairman of the review committee for ethics support for front-line clinicians.

Professor Tallis retired from full-time medicine in 2008 to focus on his writing: he has published over thirty non-medical books including fiction and poetry in addition to works on philosophy of the mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art and cultural criticism. As a philosopher Professor Tallis’s writings describe an anthropology that acknowledges what is distinctive and remarkable about human beings. To this end he has written a trilogy of books entitled ‘The Hand’, ‘I am: a Philosophical Enquiry into First-Person Being’ and ‘The Knowing Animal’.

This event is free and open to the public. If you plan to attend please email Felix Warnock via felix.warnock[at]kcl.ac.uk as this will ensure stress-free access to the first floor Boardroom.

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