Date: 16 – 17 September 2015

Venue: Nanyang Executive Centre, Nanyang Technological University

Address: 60 Nanyang View, Singapore 639673

 

Background

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore is one of Asia’s and the world’s premium universities with over 35.000 students. NTU is covering most of the fields of technology and engineering, from space technologies through civil engineering to biotechnologies, but it also has schools in the fields of, among others, the humanities, psychology, biology and medicine. NTU already has some strong research groups related to cognitive sciences, but it aims now at developing a well-focused and “context specific” research programme on human cognition (i.e. appropriate for the profile of NTU, using its already existing research platforms and enriching it with new research areas as well as unique for its Singaporean context as a “hub” in-between East and West).

As a first step to achieve these goals, we organised on the 15th-16th-17th of September 2014 a workshop with the same title.

Since then NTU decided to establish a Human Brain Imaging Centre, led by one of us (BG). In the light of this, we wish to continue our workshop series and build up international expertise in the field of cognitive neuroscience research with advanced neuroimaging techniques.

But this is only one impetus to the present workshop plan. The other major impetus of the workshop comes from the Para Limes at NTU, led by another one of us.

Para Limes at NTU is dedicated to exploring complexity by going beyond the boundaries of disciplines, cultures and institutes. In this spirit, Para Limes at NTU initiates and entertains exploratory projects by teams of world-class scientists, philosophers, artists, policy makers, and men and women of practice. Para Limes has already organised a series of conferences on various interdisciplinary themes, including the ones with the titles “Emerging patterns”, “Hidden connections”, “A crude look at the whole”, and “More is different”. Further such conferences are planned in 2016, including “Silent transformations”, “The complexity lens” and “Science and Humanity”.

The third major impetus of the present workshop comes from the plan of having a very high level conference on “A Good Life” in February 2017, focusing on the essence of a good life (including a good death). More precisely, the conference will address the question: “What, in the thoughts and heart of an individual person, makes his/her life worth to live.”

The present workshop, together with some of the aforementioned future Para Limes conferences in 2016, would explore various aspects of “a good life”, including cultural, neurocognitive, emotional aspects as well as the Eastern and Western approaches.

In this spirit, the present workshop will focus on cultural patterns and cognitive patterns in the East and West, with special regard to those patterns which are determined by our natural-genetic endowments in contrast to those patterns which are influenced by our cultural (“East-West”) influences. And, if possible, a unique flavour should be given during the talks and discussion to “a good life” aspects within the above contexts.

We intend to achieve that boundaries of disciplines and institutes do not limit the scope of the individual talks, or the discussions. In fact we want to go beyond boundaries, break now ground, and identify new questions. To make sure such high level, mind broadening discussions happen, we have invited speakers from totally different fields.

 

Synopsis

The Para Limes at Nanyang Technological University is dedicated to exploring complexity by going beyond the boundaries of disciplines, cultures and institutions. In this spirit, Para Limes has initiated exploratory projects by teams of world-class scientists, philosophers, artists, policy makers, and men and women of practice and it has already organised a series of conferences on various interdisciplinary themes, related to its mission.

East and West, two major worlds of aspirations, cultures, world-views, theoretical and practical approaches to life and death, are in the focus of the exploratory activities of Para Limes, which already started a systematic exploration of the similarities and differences between the cultural-cognitive-behavioural-emotional patterns of the East and the West, with special regard to their neurobiological underpinnings in the human brain.

A question, which is raised often by each and every individual on Earth, namely “What, in the thoughts and heart of an individual person, makes his/her life worth living?” is also coming into the fore among the topics to be explored by the Para Limes, as this question is often asked but rarely answered in a meticulous scientific manner. In this spirit, the present workshop would explore various aspects of “a good life”, including cultural, neurocognitive, emotional aspects as well as the Eastern and Western approaches, and it will focus on cultural patterns and cognitive patterns in the East and West, with special regard to those patterns which are determined by our natural-genetic endowments in contrast to those patterns which are influenced by our cultural (“East-West”) influences. Within this context, a unique flavour will be given during the talks and discussion to “a good life”, “a life worth living” aspects.

In line with the aspirations of Para Limes, with the present workshop we intend to continue our interdisciplinary and intercultural approach in which boundaries of disciplines and institutes should not limit the scope of the individual talks or the discussions. Hence we have invited speakers from fundamentally different fields to make sure we have mind boggling – mind broadening discussions.

 

[Programme]

 

Videos & Presentation Slides

Welcome address and introduction by Jan Vasbinder (Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University)
and Balázs Gulyás (Professor of Translational Neuroscience, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University)

 

Speaker: Michael Arbib
Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Southern California
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Robert Cloninger
Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Ivanka Savic-Berglund
Professor of neurology at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
BiographyPresentation

 

Speakers: Csaba Pléh (Professor emeritus of cognitive science at the Central European University, Budapest)
and Ottilia Boross (Associate Professor at the Department of Personality Psychology, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest)
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Michael Khor
Director, Research Support Office and Bibliometrics Analysis, Nanyang Technological University
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Stan Gielen
Professor of Biophysics at the Radboud University Nijmegen
Biography │ Presentation

 

Speaker: Ernst Pöppel
Head of Research Group Systems Neuroscience and Cognitive Research at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Helena Gao
Senior Lecturer, Division of Chinese in School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Svend-Erik Larsen
Professor emeritus of comparative literature at the University of Aarhus
BiographyPresentation

 

Speaker: Andy Ho
Assistant Professor, Division of Psychology in School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University
BiographyPresentation

 

Closing remarks by Balázs Gulyás (Professor of Translational Neuroscience, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University)
and Jan Vasbinder (Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University)