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Empiricist League #14: Free Will

Feb 4, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

| $8

Are we really in control of our own decisions? Do we have a “self” that actively makes choices, or do unseen processes within the brain make our decisions for us? Join a neuroscientist, a biologist/comedian, and a philosopher at the Empiricist League’s fourteenth gathering, covering the many ways that scientific discoveries are undermining one of our most cherished beliefs. Plus a special guest appearance by science rapper Baba Brinkman!

Doors at 7:30pm. First speaker starts at 8pm.

Genetic Predestination: How Our Genes Are Ruining Our Lives

Raj Sivaraman is a writer, comedian, and Ph.D. scientist. He is one of the co-hosts of the Universe City podcast, which breaks down scientific papers for mainstream audiences, and has performed in several festivals all over the country and presented his research at as many international scientific conferences. Dr. Sivaraman will speak to the Empiricist League about how our genes constrain our ability to have “free will”.

The Automaton Within: Determinism and the Philosophy of Free Will

Dr. Justin Garson is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy department at Hunter College. He specializes in the Philosophy of Biology, with an emphasis on the intersection between biology and mind. Dr. Garson is the author of “The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction” in which he outlines a philosophical perspective on morality and altruism, and how it unfolds in evolution. He will speak to the Empiricist League about the philosophical roots of the concept of free will.

You Are Your Brain: What Neuroscience Says About Who’s In Charge

Dr. Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She explores interactions of the human brain and mind with the goal of contributing to improved treatment and prevention of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders. Dr. Berlin is a presenter on the Discovery Channel series Superhuman Showdown and has made numerous media appearances including the History Channel, BBC World Service, World Science Festival, StarTalk Radio, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and TEDx. Dr. Berlin will speak to the Empiricist League about recent research in neuroscience and their implications for our understanding of free will.


Feb 4, 2015
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Union Hall
702 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY , NY 11215 United States
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Empiricist League