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A process perspective on human life

10 May 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

The RSE Gifford Seminar in association with Professor John Dupré’s Gifford Lectureship Series 2023

This year, Professor Dupré’s RSE Gifford Seminar is on ‘a process perspective on human life.’ 

Human life is constantly dynamic and active. It is not, as it is often thought, composed of things made of smaller things that are arranged into mechanisms.

The RSE Gifford Seminar allows audience members to explore some of the bigger questions asked across the Gifford Lecture Series and provides the opportunity to hear alternative voices on the subject area. This year, Professor Dupré, a distinguished philosopher of science and the Consulting Director for Centre for the Study of Life Sciences at the University of Exeter, explores taking on a process perspective on human life.

He has looked at the implications of taking on a process perspective, asking questions such as:

  • What is the difference between a world of process and a world of things?
  • What are the implications of a process philosophy for our theory of evolution?
  • How should we think about the trillions of microbial passengers that the human body hosts?
  • If humans are open-ended processes, does this offer an answer to the free will question?

Join this panel discussion, featuring Professor John Dupré, to reflect on this perspective, discuss the implications of considering a process perspective, hear responses from a panel and ask bigger questions touched on across the Gifford Lecture Series.


About the RSE Gifford Seminar

The RSE and the University of Edinburgh regularly come together to deliver the RSE Gifford Seminar, providing an overview of the Gifford Lecture Series for the year. The seminar provides an opportunity for the audience to ask questions to the speaker on the series topic as a whole; encouraging new thinking, ideas and conversations.

In his May 2023 series of lectures, Professor John Dupré will explain why we should understand life not, as composed of things made of smaller things, the latter arranged into mechanisms, but as processes. Indeed, life is constantly dynamic and active. The series will then explore the implications of this thesis for various topics with increasingly direct relevance to human life, starting with evolution and symbiosis, and moving to personal identity, human nature and human kinds, and free will.

You can read more about it here


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