Image 20-11-2023 at 12.06.jpeg

MBB Research Cluster event: Consciousness and the human mind

Add to Calendar 29-11-2023 17:3029-11-2023 18:30 MBB Research Cluster event: Consciousness and the human mindSeminar Room 2 - The Academic Wing
Seminar Room 2 - The Academic Wing
Professor John Parrington
Professor John Parrington (Department of Pharmacology, Oxford) will join us for an informal roundtable-style discussion on the fascinating topic of consciousness. This is the subject covered in his new book, “Consciousness: How Our Brains Turn Matter into Meaning”.

At 6.30pm we will head to the Hall to continue the discussion over dinner.

Open to all.


From John’s book:

What is the material basis of the thoughts that occur inside our heads?

Where do imaginative, creative, or spiritual thoughts come from - can these really be the product of nerve impulses in the brain? And is the human mind radically different from that of other species, or is our uniqueness more superficial than real?

In this book, Oxford biologist John Parrington proposes a radical new theory of human consciousness, arguing that a qualitative leap in consciousness occurred during human evolution as language and the use of tools transformed our brains. Rejecting outdated views of the brain as a hard-wired circuit diagram, he draws on the latest insights from neuroscience to show that meaning is created within our heads through a dynamic interaction of oscillating brain waves.

This new model of consciousness not only provides a material basis of our innermost thoughts but also explains why the mind can sometimes go wrong, causing deep mental distress.


John Parrington, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Oxford, and a Tutorial Fellow in Medicine at Worcester College, Oxford. He has published over 110 peer-reviewed articles in science journals including Nature, Current Biology, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, The EMBO Journal, Development, Developmental Biology, and Human Reproduction. He has extensive experience writing popular science, having published articles in The Guardian, New Scientist, Chemistry World, The Biologist, and Aeon. He has also written science reports for the Wellcome Trust, British Council, and Royal Society. He is the author of The Deeper Genome, (OUP, 2015), Redesigning Life (OUP, 2016), Mind Shift (OUP, 2021), and Consciousness (Icon Books, 2023).