Workshop with Prof. Terrence Deacon

Further information: please click the poster for an abstract and details about the workshop organization.
All sections are based on papers or chapters (by Terrence Deacon) that are available for interested participants in advance.

Progamm of the workshop

Please register in advance at:

Location: FEST Heidelberg, Schmeilweg 5, 69118 Heidelberg
Date: 30th March 2019, 10am-6pm

Public Lecture: Terrence W. Deacon

The concept of human nature has been challenged by social scientists because of its inability to clearly delineate the distinction between the biologically inherited and experientially acquired attributes of being human. Yet the very fact of being susceptible to acquired cultural influences irrelevant to other species makes clear that this is an evolutionarily constrained susceptibility. Symbolic processes are the source of the most important and distinctively human acquired influences, and include both linguistically mediated and habitually reproduced social conventions. Susceptibility to these influences arose due to the evolution of neurological adaptations that support symbolic communication and cognition. Although human brains do not include any structures that lack ape homologues, the slight reorganization that made symbolic abilities ubiquitous has also created the possibility for socially transmitted information to radically reorganize mental functions. In this lecture I reanalyze the concept of symbolic reference in order to overcome equivocal and ambiguous uses of the concept that obscure the special nature of these adaptations and thus blind research to the complex bio-cultural interactions that produce some of the most ubiquitous and unprecedented features of being human. These include modifications
of memory functions, emotional experiences, the nature of identity, and the range of mental plasticity.

Location: Marsilius-Kolleg der Universität Heidelberg (Im Neuenheimer Feld 130.1)
Date: March 29th 2019, 6:00 pm
Organized by: FEST and GERPRAGNET in cooporation with Marsilius-Kolleg and Philosophisches Seminar, Universität Heidelberg

Workshop with Robert C. Neville in Heidelberg

Workshop with Robert C. Neville, Professor of Philosophy, Religion and Theology:

Realism in Religion and the Metaphysics of Goodness

Heidelberg Center for Amercian Studies in cooperation with FEST – Institute for Interdisciplinary Research

Tuesday, June 26th, 9-12 am, Curt an Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais, Hauptstraße 120, Heidelberg.