The Inside Story: Consciousness, Nature, Transcendence

A transdisciplinary conference on Mind, Matter, Meaning and Mysticism

November 9-10, 2018

Descartes’ famous dictum—I think, therefore I am—gave rise to the modern distinction between mind and matter. But “the inside story” is more complex and thrilling—possibly uniting mind and matter, meaning and mysticism.

Join us for an in-depth exploration of consciousness, nature, and transcendence, as scientists, philosophers, and theologians ask “What’s on the inside?”

Keynote Speakers

Philip Clayton

Philip Clayton

Philip Clayton is the Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California.  Professor Clayton has taught or held research professorships at Williams College, California State University, Harvard University, Cambridge University, and the University of Munich. His research focuses on biological emergence, religion and science, process studies, and contemporary issues in ecology, religion, and ethics. In books and lectures, Clayton works to formulate constructive theological responses to developments in contemporary science and philosophy. He has also been a leading advocate for comparative theology and the internationalization of the science-religion dialogue. He is the recipient of multiple research grants and international lectureships, as well as the author of numerous books, including The Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy, Faith (2011); Religion and Science: The Basics (2011) and In Quest of Freedom: The Emergence of Spirit in the Natural World (2009). He also edited The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (2006).

photo of Terrence Deacon

Terrence Deacon

Terrence W. Deacon is an American Neuroanthropologist who received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University in 1984.  He has held faculty positions at Harvard University, Boston University, and Harvard Medical School, before assuming his current position as Professor of Biological Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He has contributed to over 100 research papers spanning diverse fields and is the author of the award winning books The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain (W. W. Norton, 1997) and Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (W. W. Norton, 2012).  His research extends from laboratory-based cellular-molecular neurobiology (including neural xenografting) to the study of semiotic processes underlying animal and human cognition and communication (including language origins). His theoretical interests focus on self-organizing and evolution-like processes at many levels, including in embryonic development, neural signal processing, language change, and social processes, exploring how these different processes interact and depend on each other. He recently turned his attention to the problem of explaining so-called emergent phenomena, such as characterize the origin of life, the evolution of language, the nature of information, and the generation of conscious experience by brains.

Timothy O'Connor

Timothy O’Connor

Timothy O’Connor is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  Prior to joining the Philosophy Department at Baylor, he taught at Indiana University since 1993.   His interests lie in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion.   Professor O’Connor is the author of two books, Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) and Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will (Oxford, 2000). He has edited or co-edited six books and has written numerous academic papers on the topics of free will, emergence, philosophical theology and epistemology. He also writes online reviews for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.  His work in the area of philosophy of mind focuses on reductionist versus emergentist views of the mental and the relationship of consciousness and intentionality.  He is currently trying to make sense out of an emergentist, property dualist view of conscious animals such as ourselves and hopes to produce a monograph on the metaphysics of human persons in the near future.  He has co-edited three volumes of topics of related interest including A Companion to the Philosophy of ActionEmergence in Science and Philosophy, and an interdisciplinary compendium of views on the status of empirical research on the human will, titled Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will.

Sr. Ilia Delio

Sr. Ilia Delio

Ilia Delio, OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Washington, D.C. holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova Universe.  Her area of research is Science and Religion with interests in artificial intelligence, evolution, quantum physics and the import of these for religion and culture. She holds a doctorate in Pharmacology from Rutgers University-  Biomedical and Health Sciences and a doctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University.  She is the author of eighteen books and numerous articles.  Her recent books include Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology and Consciousness and The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love, for which she won the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award.  Her latest book A Hunger for Wholeness:  Soul, Space and Transcendence will be published by Paulist Press (2018).