13 episodes

NOUS tackles the deepest questions about the mind, through conversations with leading thinkers working in philosophy, neuroscience, psychiatry and beyond. Each episode features an in-depth conversation focussing on one big idea.

How does the brain produce consciousness? Are mental illnesses just biological? Are there limits to the power of neuroscience - or will it eventually unravel the mysteries of free will and morality?

Hosted by Ilan Goodman

NOUS Ilan Goodman: Neuroscience and philosophy podcaster

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 31 Ratings

NOUS tackles the deepest questions about the mind, through conversations with leading thinkers working in philosophy, neuroscience, psychiatry and beyond. Each episode features an in-depth conversation focussing on one big idea.

How does the brain produce consciousness? Are mental illnesses just biological? Are there limits to the power of neuroscience - or will it eventually unravel the mysteries of free will and morality?

Hosted by Ilan Goodman

    Iris Berent on Innate Knowledge and Why We Are Blind to Ourselves

    Iris Berent on Innate Knowledge and Why We Are Blind to Ourselves

    The idea we have ‘innate knowledge’ seems quite wrong to most of us. But we do! And the intuitions leading us astray here also blind us to other aspects of human nature. 
    We are all ‘blind storytellers’. Professor Iris Berent reveals what misleads us, and what we are missing.
    18:55 Newborns have basic knowledge of the nature of objects. Eye-tracking experiments reveal that they have a grasp of the 3 c’s - cohesion, contact and continuity. 
    22:35 How do you get expectations about the nature of the world coded into genes? Do genes somehow give rise to computational ‘rules’ in the brain? Is my inability to grasp this illustrating Iris’ argument!? A deep mystery remains. 
    26:51 Birdsong is innate. So why not aspects of language and human object cognition?  
    28:20 “People know how to talk in more or less the sense that spiders know how to spin webs“ says Steven Pinker. 
    37:44 We learn a particular language from those around us - but some argue that the deep structural rules underlying all languages are innate. How does that work? Are there ‘rules’ of language somehow inscribed in neural structures? 
    47:39 Our intuitive biases to *dualism* and *essentialism* lead us to get lots of things wrong about human nature. 
    55:05 Why we go ‘insane about the brain’, and get weirdly impressed by neuroscience-y explanations, even when they are bad. 
    1:00:44 Why is our thinking about mental disorders so biased and confused? 
    ***
    Check out Iris Berent's book The Blind Storyteller here, or find her on Twitter @berent_iris
    To get in touch with Ilan or join the conversation, you can find NOUS on Twitter @NSthepodcast or on email at nousthepodcast@gmail.com

    Ann-Sophie Barwich on the Surprising Neuroscience of Smell

    Ann-Sophie Barwich on the Surprising Neuroscience of Smell

    Vision is the best understood sensory domain. But smell is turning out to be wonderfully strange and even more complex than sight.
    Dr Ann-Sophie Barwich joins me to explore ideas from her recent book Smellosophy. How is vomit related to parmesan cheese? Why do things smell so different depending on context? And what does smell teach us about the very nature of perception? 
    We explore:
    Why the ‘promiscuity’ of smell doesn’t make it merely subjective. Smells can have a multitude of qualities or notes depending on the context and depending on the individual. But this variability has a functional basis.  The weird neural representation of smell. The patterns of neural activation underpinning smell don’t follow the mapping principles followed by other sensory modalities.  Why philosophers shouldn’t ignore the neural ‘plumbing’ of sensory systems. Evolved brain mechanisms underly the nature and function of the perceptual experience  - so they have to inform a philosophical account of perception.   Check out Dr Barwich’s book Smellosophy here, https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674983694, 
    her article in Aeon magazine here https://aeon.co/essays/why-might-it-be-easier-to-fool-your-eyes-than-your-nose.
    and another great piece in Nautilus http://nautil.us/issue/91/the-amazing-brain/our-mind_boggling-sense-of-smell 
    ***
    To get in touch with Ilan or join the conversation, you can find NOUS on Twitter @NSthepodcast or on email at nousthepodcast@gmail.com

    Matthew Cobb - Why Neuroscience Still Can’t Explain Much

    Matthew Cobb - Why Neuroscience Still Can’t Explain Much

    Despite multi-million dollar research programmes and impressive technical progress, neuroscience still can’t explain basic systems - like a maggot’s tiny brain or the grinding of a lobster’s stomach.
    Professor Matthew Cobb joins me to discuss the intellectual history of neuroscience,  his frank assessment of where we’re at, and how we can make progress.
    We cover:
    How the idea of the brain as computer got started in the mid-C20th, and why it’s probably wrong. (10:53) The challenge of the Grandmother Cell - and why some neurons selectively respond to Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry! (21:00) What have we really learnt from fMRI? Is it “just a bit crap”? (27:25) Why the Human Brain Project was so controversial - and how its has spectacularly failed to live up to its own rhetoric (36:29). Could a neuroscientists understand a microprocessor? We discuss the brilliant study by Eric Jonas and Konrad Paul Kording. (41:30) The amazing achievement of artificial limbs (49:50) How useful is the ‘predictive brain theory’ favoured by Anil Seth, Karl Friston and Andy Clark? “Show me in a maggot!” Why we should get behind a Maggot Brain project. (58:40) Matthew’s book The Idea of the Brain has been shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford prize. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/2Ky6IOL
    ***
    To get in touch with Ilan or join the conversation, you can find NOUS on Twitter @NSthepodcast or on email at nousthepodcast@gmail.com

    Edward Bullmore on the ‘inflamed mind’ theory of depression

    Edward Bullmore on the ‘inflamed mind’ theory of depression

    Could depression be caused by inflammation?  Cambridge psychiatrist Edward Bullmore makes the case for his radical new theory, from his bestselling book The Inflamed Mind.

    Keith Frankish Exposes the Illusion of Consciousness

    Keith Frankish Exposes the Illusion of Consciousness

    Keith Frankish busts the myth of qualia, and teaches me how to escape Cartesian Gravity.

    Joseph LeDoux on the 4 Billion Year Journey to Our Conscious Selves

    Joseph LeDoux on the 4 Billion Year Journey to Our Conscious Selves

    Celebrated neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux explains how we became clever, conscious and emotional after 4 billion years of evolution.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Pieterson's Pilot ,

Superb and brilliantly put together

Ilan is fantastic at pulling together the strands of what we know and introducing new mind expanding ideas.

BothansinDsguise ,

Great discussions

Real substance, with heavy topics discussed smartly and sensitively. You can tell that the host goes into a lot of research to understand the topics and bring the best out of his guests, presenting an accessible discussion into the ideas that offers a friendly but not uncritical examination.

buonoh ,

Nous

Remarkable ,lucid & up to date interviews on such impressive range of key issues .
Really helped me understand how philosophy is being transformed by and transforming latest work in neuroscience &
Bio genetics & other formative studies .
Really thorough interviewer that knows the
Work of eminent guests well & so compels them to articulate their perceptions & discoveries with warm urgency .

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