Theme 2020

The thematic arc of the next three editions (2020-2022) is dedicated to the theme of “Knowledge”.
During ESRI 2020 we will discuss the following questions: How do we perceive? How do we know what we know? 

The recent history of cognitive sciences since the mid 50’s will be presented. This background is essential to know where we come from as far as theories and concepts are concerned. While the computational model prevailed for several decades, a radical revision took place and gave birth to the embodied cognitive sciences and a plurality of models together with new concepts: self organizing networks of cells, autopoeisis, enaction... . Additionally, different research fields like quantum physics might offer some clues to the notions of perception and knowledge.

We also learn through experiments and experiences. Microphenomenology, meditation and movement practices will give us the opportunity to complement the theoretical approach of this ESRI to address the issues of perception, emotions and memories in an experiential manner.  

These Western approaches, theories and concepts will be compared to Eastern ones and especially with the Buddhist tradition (philosophy, sciences and psychology). From this perspective, what is the relation between knowledge, knowing and wisdom? Does meditation influence the way we perceive and learn about the world and ourselves?

We also would like to explore how our societies make use of all these different kinds of knowing. Two topics could be developed in that sense: Domains like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics are transforming our lives. In which way? Knowing about climate change does not seem to help us to make corresponding decisions, both as individuals and society, though it concerns all of us. What is the relation between knowledge and action? And lastly, what is the role of meditation and contemplation in a world with exponentially growing knowledge?