Bill Meacham: Consciousness and Human Excellence

June INACS Lecture by Dr. Bill Meacham

Consciousness and Human Excellence

A philosophical discussion led by Bill Meacham, Ph.D.

Sponsored by the Institute for Neuroscience And Consciousness Studies

The study of consciousness can be approached from a first-person point of view that is analagous to objective scientific study in its rigor and methodology. Phenomenology is the attempt to examine one’s own experience exactly as it is experienced, without bias or presupposition, and to report one’s findings to a community of practitioners. Phenomenological investigation reveals structures of experience that are corroborated by neuroscience and that have a certain unassailable impact on the investigator him- or herself. Having originary evidence of the workings of one’s own mind gives one great assurance — we might almost say certain knowledge — of the deep anatomy of one’s very being. Each of us is constituted as Being-in-the-World. We are ineluctably co-present with the objects of our experience and cannot help but participate in their formation as experienced. In doing so we constitute our own self as well. Knowledge of the nature of that self is the ultimate goal of the philosophical quest. Both the method and the findings of phenomenology yield important insights into the nature of human beings and how we can live a fulfilling life.

About the Author

After receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin Bill Meacham spent many years as a computer programmer, systems analyst and project manager.  Now an independent scholar in philosophy, he brings the precision required for good software development to the analysis of philosophical concepts and to the deep questions posed by philosophy: What is real?  How do we know what is real?  And what shall we do about what is real?

The lecture is based on materials available on his website, http://www.bmeacham.com/whatswhat.