SMVDU Katra: A Two-Day International Conference on “The Problem of Consciousness and the Brain-Brahman Dichotomy” was held at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, organized by the Dept. of Philosophy & Culture from 27-28 February. The inaugural session began with a welcome note by Dr. V. K. Tripathi, Head Dept. of Philosophy & Culture. The concept note was presented by Dr. Madhu Mangal Chaturvedi, the convener of the conference and inaugural address was delivered by Dr. Vandhana Sharma, Dean Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The key-note lecture was delivered by Prof. A. K. Mukhopadhyaya, Head Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS, who marvelously connected the leading trends in neuroscience research and philosophical studies on consciousness. Dr. Angus Alexander James McBlane from IIT Gandhinagar spoke on “Brain Body Flesh: Merleau-Ponty on the ‘Problem’ of Consciousness”. Prof. H.S. Prasad from University of Delhi, Dr. Hari Narayan from IIT Jodhpur and S. Siddhartha from NIMHANS were some prominent speakers. Delegates from IIT Bombay, Manipal University, University of Jammu, and Presidency University also participated. Total 27 research papers were presented and thoughtfully deliberated upon.
The issue of consciousness is closely related to nature of reality, and therefore with world view of physics. What physics tells us about our universe and what we feel about our consciousness are in direct conflict. Therefore, the topic of the conference was very important since it addressed this spiritual concern about the nature and meaning of human consciousness vis-à-vis, materialism supported by modern physics. The concluding session was chaired by Dr. P. P. Singh from Govt. College for Women, Parade. The report of the conference was presented in the valedictory by the convener and the vote of thanks was delivered by the Head of Dept. Philosophy & Culture. Dr. Anil K. Tewari, Mr. Sumanta Sarathi Sharma, Dr. Ashoka K. Tarai, Dr. Amitabh Dwivedi were present.