The 2023 Holberg Debate: ‘Does Consciousness Extend Beyond Brains?’

The 2023 Holberg Debate panel will consist of Prof. Anil Seth, Prof. Taya Luhrmann, and Dr. RUpert Sheldrake. Moderator: David Malone.

Dear UiB colleagues,

The Holberg Prize has the pleasure of inviting everyone to attend the 2023 Holberg Debate in the University Aula, on Saturday 2 December, 15:00 – 17:45.

The debate is entitled ‘Does Consciousness Extend Beyond Brains?’. A panel of eminent researchers will discuss whether or not conscious experiences happen both within and outside the brain, and if science can solve the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. Also, a broader question is: Does science need “heresy” in order to sufficiently explore our greatest remaining mysteries?

In the panel:

  • Anil Seth is a neuroscientist and author who has pioneered research into the brain basis of consciousness for more than 20 years. He is a Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex. His most well-known book is Being You (2017).
  • Tanya Luhrmann is the Albert Ray Lang Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. Her work focuses on the edge of experience: on voices, visions, the world of the supernatural and the world of psychosis. At the heart of the work is the question of how things come to feel real to people. Luhrmann’s authorship includes  the the award-winning book When God Talks Back (2012).
  • Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author of more than a hundred technical papers and nine books, including his 2012 book The Science Delusion, which argues that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas.
  • David Malone is an award winning science documentary film maker.  In a career spanning nearly 30 years he has made films for the BBC and Channel 4, on such topics as consciousness, the self and soul, the search for mathematical certainty, and the relationship between science and religion.

Please see the Holberg Prize website for more information on the event, or register for the event here. You can also follow our Facebook event page. We invite everyone to submit questions for the panel here.

Previous instalments of the Holberg Debate can be found here.

Queries may be directed to:


Kind regards,

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

Prof. Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

Academic Director
The Holberg Prize
m: +47 4110 3883


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