We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Is it Time? Cafe Culture - Against Biologism: Neuromania and Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Mankind

31st October 2012, 19:00 to 21:00, Café on the Green, Palace Green, Durham, Raymond Tallis

Against Biologism: Neuromania and Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Mankind

Increasingly, it is assumed that human beings are best understood in biological terms. That, notwithstanding the apparent differences between humans and their nearest animal kin, people are, at bottom, organisms; that people are their brains, and that societies are best understood as collections of brains. We are also told we should look to evolutionary theory to understand what we are now; that our biological roots explain our cultural leaves.

Raymond Tallis, will argue that we are not just our brains; rather we belong to a community of minds that has grown up over the hundreds of thousands of years since we parted company from the other primates. He will argue that the gap between our nearest animal kin and ourselves is too wide to read across from the one to the other.

Is it time? Projects Galore and Cafe Culture North East invites you to a convivial evening of discussion and debate with Professor Raymond Tallis, philosopher, poet, novelist, cultural critic and until recently physician and clinical scientist, at the Cafe on the Green in Durham City.

On In Defence of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections: ' a high achiever with a range of expertise that would leave Jonathan Miller gasping' - Walter Eltis, The Sunday Times

Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, published in June 2011, gives a critique which exposes the exaggerated claims made for the ability of neuroscience and evolutionary theory to explain human consciousness, behaviour, culture and society. It was chosen as one of the Books of the Year 2011 in the Guardian (David Lodge), Observer, and Evening Standard (George Walden).

About the Author
Raymond Tallis trained as a doctor at the University of Oxford and St. Thomas's hospital. Since 1987 he has been Professor and a consultant physician in Health Care of the Elderly in Salford. Over the last fifteen years, he has written extensively outside of medicine. He has published short stories and poetry and given reflections on art and science and discussions of the philosophy of mind. He was recently described in The Times Education Supplement as 'one of the most intriguing figures in the current intellectual scene'. He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Hull in 1997 for his contributions to literary scholarship.

Cafe Culture with Raymond Tallis, is the first 'Is it Time?' event.  Cafe Culture is part funded by the IAS (Durham University) and Arts Council England, and in addition to Cafe Culture, a number of other activities are being developed as part of 'Is it Time?' including Cart (by Susan Walsh and Lubaina Himid MBE at the DLI gallery), Binchester (with The November Club) and Tea-Time (with TIN Arts). 

Café on the Green is located on Palace Green, Durham City DH1 3RL.  You can enjoy refreshments in the café before the event or snacks and refreshments during the event when we have a short break. This venue has wheelchair access.  The discussion will begin at 7pm so please feel free to join us for a drink from 6.30pm.  Please RSVP by 24 October as places are limited.


Contact for more information about this event.