TED Conversations

Ron Burnett

President and Vice-Chancellor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design


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Can a map of the Brain really explain the complexities of consciousness?

We have been making extraordinary advances in mapping the brain and at the same time drawing conclusions about consciousness, the ways in which we think and consequently, the ways in which we act as humans.
I consider this approach to be simplistic and reductive. I am worried that we are building "behavioural maps" that cannot account for the complexity of human thought and action. Most of all, these maps cannot account for the unconscious, that part of our brains that cannot be explained by any reference to its parts.


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    Nov 19 2011: mapping the brain is like mapping the universe its infinitly expanding and evolving faster than we could ever get valid and conclusive diagrams of it.
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      Nov 19 2011: Great metaphor and may be the most precise one yet in this conversation to describe what is happening in the brain.

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