Neuroscience and Spirituality to be Explored at Phenomenology Symposium

Psychiatrist, cultural critic and author Dr. Iain McGilchrist, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will be the featured speaker at Contemplation and Beyond: Phenomenology, Neuroscience and the Spiritual, the 34th annual Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center Symposium at Duquesne University.

The two-day seminar will be held on Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18, in the Africa Room of the Duquesne Union; many sessions already have been filled or closed. Attendance is still open for McGilchrist's free public presentation, The Power of No: On the Apophatic Path to God, at 2 p.m. on March 18 in Duquesne's Power Center Ballroom.

McGilchrist is well-known for his book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, which argues that the division of the brain into two hemispheres is essential to human existence, making possible incompatible versions of the world, with very different priorities and values.

"Blending cutting-edge neuroscience with the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Ludwig Wittgenstein, McGilchrist explores in his book the logic(s) of the artistic, scientific, philosophical and religious history of Western culture in order to call those of us in Western culture back to the embodied life-world," explained Dr. Jeffrey McCurry, director of the phenomenology center at Duquesne.

"McGilchrist's work in phenomenology, neuroscience, psychiatry and history shows the deep significance of phenomenology as a witness to modern humanity about the enduring value and truth of human experience in a culture of arid rationalism, mechanism and disembodiment," added McCurry.

For more information, visit the event's website or email McCurry at

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.