The Divided Brain and the Relationship Between the Sciences and Humanities, Hillsdale College, USA

Wednesday 20th March 2024, 4.00pm (in-person event) 

Event description. 

The author of two landmark works—The Master and His Emissary and The Matter With Things—Dr. Iain McGilchrist’s original insight into the brain hemispheres’ distinctive “takes” on reality arises from an unparalleled integration of research on the lateralization of brain functions with philosophical reflections both ancient and modern.

His work shows how our customary means for separating the sciences and humanities (e.g., the one is “objective” while the other is “subjective”) expresses and ratifies only one hemisphere’s (the left’s) vision of the world; and because this hemisphere treats the world analytically and instrumentally— as made up of isolable things we manipulate and control— the result of its vision, while indispensable to humanity, is incomplete and, on its own, destructive.

Neuroscientific and phenomenological observation suggests that the right hemisphere’s perspective, relative to the left’s, is more veridical. For it, wholes stand out over parts, the implicit over the explicit, process over stasis, meaning over mechanism, and being over utility. The evidence further suggests that the true value of the left hemisphere is fulfilled when its proper role as “Emissary” to the right as “Master” is maintained.

Could this picture of interhemispheric relatedness offer students of the liberal arts a pathway for pursuing and integrating the sciences and humanities, enriching their study of both, and deepening their experience of reality?

Dr. McGilchrist’s visit is hosted by the Psychology Department, with generous support from The Roscoe Fund.

Please Note: this event is open to students, faculty and community – for more information click here