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Posted by on Jun 29, 2013 in Uncategorized Posts | 1 comment

Inspiring Women of TAM 2013: Susan Blackmore

The Skeptic Ink Network is proud to be a supporter of this year’s The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) and we’d like to introduce our readers to some of the excellent voices which make the “4-day vacation from unreason” such a pleasure. With well over 80 names filling out the program, we’re not able to give every worthy speaker their due, so we’ve decided to focus on skeptical women that inspire us. We think they’ll inspire you, too.

Susan Blackmore

Sue Blackmore will be speaking at TAM this year. She is a psychologist and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is the is author of a number of books, including The Meme Machine, and also Zen and the Art of Consciousness.

Here’s an interview where she says “believing in free will is being deluded.”

More in the Inspiring Women of TAM 2013 series:

Susan Gerbic profiled by Ed of Incredulous
Cara Santa Maria profiled by Caleb of Great Plains Skeptic
Sharon Hill interviewed by Ed of Incredulous
Heather Henderson interviewed by Ed of Incredulous
Sara Mayhew interviewed by Damion of Background Probability
Susan Jacoby profiled by Caleb of Great Plains Skeptic

Jennifer Ouellette profiled by John Loftus of Debunking Christianity.

  • iamcuriousblue

    Fascinating. The conference is getting Massimo Pigliucci and Jerry Coyne as well, so definitely no shortage of intellectual gravitas at TAM.

    As far as Blackmore’s argument goes, I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced, as “free will” can be defined a number of ways. I do believe that cognitive science has effectively done away with the idea of *contracausal* free will – I have no argument with that – but is that the only possible definition?

    I especially dislike the claim that things like not just free will, but self and consciousness cannot be said to exist, because it cannot be reduced to one center in the brain. That view strikes me as overly reductionist, as if complex phenomenon cannot exist as an emergent property, largely reducible to the behavior of its components, but not entirely. It’s like saying evolution couldn’t exist, because there’s nothing in raw biochemistry that would have evolutionary mechanisms.