On May 1st I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Nicholas Humphrey, one of the world’s leading minds in the fields of evolutionary psychology and the study of consciousness. The interview is a followup to an article in The Partially Examined Life blog titled “Soul Dust: A Well Supported Stab At The Why of Consciousness.” Our conversation focuses mainly on Humphrey’s 2012 book Soul Dust: The Magic Of Consciousness and his recent article “Consciousness as Art” published in the May edition of Scientific American Mind.
Having the opportunity to speak with Nicholas was an enlightening experience, and I am excited to be able to share the recording. With effortless fluidity Humphrey discusses a variety of topics including the possibility of non-conscious intelligent beings, his revolutionizing work on human blindsight, how personhood and ethics arise out of consciousness, and how our minds may have evolved to act as artists to make us fall in love with ourselves. He also shares a conversation with Francis Crick on the problem of other minds and describes debates with Dan Dennett over the best way to phrase materialist arguments. This interview is truly an enjoyable and thought provoking listen.
Any issues with the audio quality or editing are due to my own lack of decent equipment and technical savvy.
NICHOLAS HUMPHREY is emeritus professor of psychology at the London School of Economics, a Senior Member of Darwin College, Cambridge, and an adviser to the BMW Guggenheim Lab. He has published nine books, numerous papers, several documentaries, and is the winner of the 2015 Mind & Brain Prize.
John Ludders is from Buffalo, NY, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a member of the varsity rowing team. He lives in the Washington, DC area and writes about philosophy and ethics as an absorbing hobby. Professionally, Ludders is desk jockey at an advertising research agency.