On Thursday, June 19th, the Institut du Cerveau – ICM Brain and Spine Institute hosted an extra-scientific conference led by Professor John Harris. A truly poetic exchange, John Harris introduced his talk, “Hot Baths & Cold Minds: Paradoxes of Neuroenhancement”, with readings of works by a few of history’s great poets.
Watch the full video of the conference below:
An audio version is also available here:
Professor John Harris was educated at the University of Kent and Balliol College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. He was elected a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2001, the first philosopher to have been elected to Fellowship of this Academy. John Harris is also one of the founders of the International Association of Bioethics. His regular appearances on radio and television programs on the subject of biomedical ethics and medical jurisprudence serve as further affirmation to his expertise and role as a leading consultant in these areas.
Historically, poets have been those considered to have the best understanding of the inner-workings of the mind – as neuroscientists, in a way. John Harris’ talk, “Hot Baths & Cold Minds: Paradoxes of Neuroenhancement”, thus began with the reading of poems by some of the great authors. The talk emphasized Homer’s metaphorical imagery of “hot baths” as a way to highlight the human condition.
Following the conference, participants gathered for a cocktail to close out this engaging evening of science and poetry.