Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Is the human mind reducible to physics? - An Abstract
In the modern world, much of atheism, especially that which regards itself as scientific, is based on a philosophy called “physicalism” or “scientific materialism,” which says that all reality is reducible to matter and thus ultimately to physics. Among many problems with physicalism is that it cannot fully account for mind, especially the human mind. In this talk, Prof. Barr will argue that the human mind, its consciousness, its capacity for abstract thought, its freedom, and its openness to truth, cannot be given purely physical or mechanical explanations. Some of these arguments go back to Plato and Aristotle, others are based on discoveries of twentieth century mathematics and physics. "
Prof. Stephen Barr:
Stephen M. Barr is a theoretical particle physicist. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1978 and did postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. After holding research faculty positions at the University of Washington and Brookhaven National Laboratory he joined the faculty of the University of Delaware in 1987, where he is Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Director of its Bartol Research Institute. His physics research centers mainly on “grand unified theories” and the cosmology of the early universe. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society “for his original contributions to grand unification, CP violation, and baryogenesis”. He writes and lectures extensively on the relation of science and religion. Many of his articles and reviews have appeared in First Things, on whose Advisory Council he serves. He has also written for The Public Interest, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Commonweal, Modern Age, The Wall Street Journal, Public Discourse, and Academic Questions. He is the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2003), A Student’s Guide to Natural Science (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006), Science and Religion: The myth of conflict (Catholic Truth Society, 2011), and The Believing Scientist (Eerdmans, 2016). He was elected in 2010 to the Academy of Catholic Theology. He and his wife Kathleen have five children and live in Newark, Delaware.