The Symposium has been organized in the framework of the Convention between University of Pisa (UniPi) and Lama Tzong Khapa Institute (ILTK) signed in February 2016.
The main target of the Convention is to establish the regulatory framework for develop cooperation between environments, cultures, different methodologies and experiences that have as a common objective the study of mental processes. To this end, different aspects of interaction with external reality, perception, introspection, awareness (mindfulness), training and control, and development of human potential, will be considered, all of the above for the enrichment of knowledge as well as in order to achieve a better state of personal and social well-being.
For this reason, UniPI and ILTK are expected to conduct research, training and dissemination activities
based on the contextual use of complementary approaches for the study of Mind developed by the Western Science and by Eastern cultural traditions.
Particularly, the Convention will represent the meeting point between the philosophical/psychological tradition of Buddhism (in the form of first-person analysis of mental processes, introspection, concentration, meditation, etc.) and western Philosophy and Science (in the form of philosophical investigation as well as of second/third-person analysis, psychology and psychophysiology, psychiatry, neurophysiology and neuroscience of human behavior).
In this framework, ILTK provides a significant contribution to the Master of UniPi titled “Neuroscience, Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices” that has among its objectives to define the psychophysiological correlates of meditative practices and their mental and bodily effects. The 1st Mindscience of Reality Symposium represents a joint initiative aimed both to change the scientific paradigm in the concept of mind and to the dissemination of results.
The opening of the symposium will be preceded by a public meeting between the Dalai Lama and citizenship and students, organized by the Town Council of Pisa in the morning of Wednesday , September, 20, 2017.
The Symposium is organized in three half days dedicated to three sessions.
Session 1: Mindscience and Quantum Physics
Session 2: Mindscience versus Neuroscience
Session 3: Mindscience in Philosophy
Each session provides for the presentation of three invited speakers, which will be followed by a panel discussion. In the following the main questions that will be addressed by the speakers and that will be the subject of the debates following the presentations.
Mindscience and Quantum Physics
Recently, it has been suggested that the operation of certain biological structures is governed by quantum phenomena. What evidence there is that the operation of certain neural structures also obeys the laws of quantum mechanics?
If it is demonstrated that some brain processes are governed by quantum phenomena, what will change in Mindscience and in Neuroscience? What new answers could be given to the mind-body problem?
Which model of Consciousness, could be (or have already been) formulated?
Could consciousness be considered as a sort of hidden variable to be added to a quantum theory for a more complete description of Reality?
Chairman: Michel Bitbol
Invited Speakers: Federico Faggin, Massimo Pregnolato, Giuseppe Vitiello.
Mindscience versus Neuroscience
Can consciousness be reduced to neural complexity? Is a conscious thought a voluntary self-organized activity of distributed neural cells? Who guides the will to neural self-organization? If the human-environment interaction is filtered by hierarchical bottom-up neural complexity, what is the real impact of unconscious non-perceivable stimuli on mind? In non-ordinary/altered states of consciousness (i.e. dreamless sleep, deep meditation, coma) the lack of overt behavior, sustained by abnormal neural correlates of consciousness, is sufficient for determining a causal relationship between brain and mind, or for denying the presence of mind at all?
Chairman: Riccardo Zucchi
Invited Speakers: Steven Laureys, Donald Hoffman, Tenzin Gyatso
Mindscience and Philosophy
Identity, Perception, Comprehension, Free Will: can these categories be explained in mechanistic terms? Is Consciousness reducible to matter, and Life to a machine? Is still still relevant Jakob Moleschott’s statement: “Without phosphorus no thought”? Was Descartes really right? May machines and computers be conscious? Can they perceive and understand Reality? Is there a shared Consciousness? Is there a shared Mind? Is it possible to know how another person or another living being perceives Reality? Which are the answers to these questions given by Western Philosophy and by Oriental Traditions?
Chairman: Pierluigi Barrotta
Invited Speakers: Remo Bodei, Michel Bitbol, Matthieu Ricard