#TUOE (The Uncertainty Of Existence, September 13, 2014):

SynTalk thinks about the mystery of ‘existence’ and ‘consciousness’. In a sense the conversation alternates between perspectives vis-a-vis ​human beings (meditative, wakeful, dreamy, comatose, paralysed, anaesthetised, unconscious, unarousable, dying, vegetative, & dead), zygotes, fictional characters, amoeba, bats, dust particles, ​tables, the sky, plants, ​and rocks. The concepts are​ derived​ off / from Descartes, William James, Heidegger, ​Freud, Sartre, Turing, Gödel, SN Bose, Chisholm, Libet, and ​Nagel, among others. What is the difference between ‘thing in itself’ and ‘thing for itself’? The difference between “I” and “me”, & a form of internal duality. Is there a hierarchy of consciousness (& how does it become aware of itself)? What is ‘being dead’? How does one measure consciousness? We try to understand the difference between the living and the non-living. The degree of certainty, and its link with concepts of possibility, probability, & necessity. The necessity of a nervous system? Is death the loss of intelligence and adaptability? How is it possible to have non-conscious, semantic systems like machines? Does consciousness have any content? The links between Sodium Pentothal, neurotheology, precuneus, subjective certainty, apoptosis, and cogito ergo sum? The difference between consciousness and awareness, and the autonomy of thought from consciousness. ​The SynTalkrs are: Prof. Bijoy Boruah (philosophy, IIT Delhi, New Delhi), Dr. Priyedarshi Jetli (philosophy, (ex) Delhi University, Mumbai), & Dr. Deepak Ranade (neurosurgery, Pune).

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TUOE show.

Prof. Bijoy Boruah (philosophy) is the Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Delhi since 2009. Earlier he also taught as the Professor of Philosophy at IIT Kanpur. He has been working in and has published in the areas of Philosophical Aesthetics, Philosophy of Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and Metaphysics of the Self. He was a Fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study Shimla 1997, and later taught as Visiting Professor in June 2012. Prof. Boruah was a Senior Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin (2000-2001). As part of his teaching experience, he has visited and lectured at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas A & M University at Kingsville, Drew University (all USA), University of Utrecht (the Netherlands), University of Hokkaido and Sapporo University (both in Japan), and National University of Singapore. He has also published a book titled “Fiction And Emotion: A Study in Aesthetics and the philosophy of mind” (Oxford University Press).

Dr. Priyedarshi Jetli (philosophy) is a student and teacher of philosophy by profession. He finished his Ph.D. at Indiana University, USA on Plato’s concept of relations. He has sustained his interest in Plato over the years and has widely taught some of his dialogues. He has a recent publication entitled ‘Abduction and Model Based Reasoning in Plato’s Meno’ in a Springer anthology. His other areas of research are in epistemology, philosophy of mathematics and history of logic. He was Reader in University of Delhi (1993 to 2007), and was subsequently at University of Mumbai as adjunct faculty (2006 to 2013). He is now visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Tuljapur (from 2013).

Dr. Deepak Ranade (neurosurgery, writing, interdisciplinary) is a practicing neurosurgeon and has performed around 300 major neurosurgeries independently. He has a great interest in reading about consciousness. He is also a columnist with Speaking Tree (Times Of India) & has contributed over 25 articles till date. He completed his M.Ch (Magister Chirurgiae) Neurosurgery in 1994 from University of Bombay (K.E.M. Hospital) and now he is ‘Professor and Head of Department’ of Neurosurgery at D.Y. Patil Medical College, Pune. He pioneered Neurosurgery at Baramati and performed brain and spine surgeries since 1996. He has done a fellowship in Endoscopic Spine Surgery at Phoenix, Arizona, USA and is one of the very few spine surgeons who are proficient in this technique. He has also done a fellowship in minimally invasive spine surgery in Seoul, South Korea. He believes that his life’s purpose is to merge science and spiritualism and to realise the true nature of his self.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

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