Closer to Truth

34 short philosophical debates with public intellectual Robert Lawrence Kuhn and renowned author and alternative medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra, exploring profound questions around fundamental issues of existence. A thought-provoking series headlining the search for ultimate reality and purpose.

About the show

Dr. Deepak Chopra & Robert Lawrence Kuhn

34 episodes

Location: San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art

Studio: The Kuhn Foundation

2014

What is Consciousness?

What is Consciousness?

Consciousness is startling. It’s the biggest of questions. Consciousness makes experience possible, but what is its deep essence? Does brain science explain it? How else to explore consciousness?

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Why is Consciousness So Mysterious?

Why is Consciousness So Mysterious?

Consciousness is the greatest of mysteries. Why is our inner sense of subjective awareness baffling? How could consciousness possibly work? Are scientists “bamboozled” by materialism”? Can the mystery be solved?

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Can Consciousness be Non-biological?

Can Consciousness be Non-biological?

Is consciousness limited to biological brains? Can true consciousness—inner experience—exist in non-biological systems, especially in extremely complex systems that dwarf the human brain? If so, how so? If not, why not?

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Is Consciousness Ultimate Reality?

Is Consciousness Ultimate Reality?

What would it mean if consciousness were ultimate reality? Consciousness is the basis for everything else? Everything else is the result of consciousness? How can one deny that the physical world is real?

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Consciousness and Spirituality

Consciousness and Spirituality

How does it come from consciousness? Is spirituality the awareness of universality or oneness? Can spirituality have a physical explanation? Does spirituality supersede religion? Or validate it?

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What is Enlightenment?

What is Enlightenment?

Can enlightenment be expressed with words? Oneness. Wholeness. No boundaries. Or is enlightenment ineffable, only to be experienced, not to be explained? What can we learn from mystics? Can ordinary people become enlightened?

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What is God?

What is God?

Can we know what God is? Or what God is not? What are God’s traits? Why so many kinds of Gods? If experience is the best way to God, why should we trust experience? Can we know anything about God?

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Is God a Person?

Is God a Person?

What would it mean if God were a person? How could God be a person –how important would it be? How to compare the personal Western God with the impersonal Eastern God? Perhaps God is a projection?

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What are Persons?

What are Persons?

What is it like to be a person? What is the relationship between persons and consciousness? Are persons bundles of experience? How do persons persist through time – what makes persons continue to the same?

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Do Persons have Souls?

Do Persons have Souls?

What are souls? Do they exist? Is the essence of human beings nonphysical? If so, what could it be? What’s the difference between ‘immortal souls’ and ‘pure consciousness’? What’s illusion and what’s real?

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Is Death Final?

Is Death Final?

Death comes to all life. How to comprehend and encompass death? Can appreciating consciousness illuminate death? What about claims of afterlife, reincarnation, personal immortality? And what’s the relationship between death and creativity?

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Immortality and Personal Consciousness

Immortality and Personal Consciousness

What’s immortality and could our consciousness attain it? Claims of an afterlife vary wildly from personal awareness to absorption into ‘cosmic consciousness’. If we exist after death, would we have a location? What would we experience?

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Can the Mind Heal the Body?

Can the Mind Heal the Body?

What is the relationship between mental attitude and physical health? How could the mind heal the body? How could it work? Do negative emotions cause illness? Can positive emotions cure illness? And how bad is stress?

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What is Free Will?

What is Free Will?

Why is free will so important? Is free will an illusion? If the world is determined, or if randomness reigns, is free will impossible? What’s the relationship between free will and consciousness?

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What is ESP?

What is ESP?

Is ESP fact or fraud? Are supposed ESP events a window on a new reality? Or mere coincidences exaggerated by the gullible? Can ESP relate to ‘non-locality’ or to special causality? Why is ESP always on the fringe?

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Can All Religions be True?

Can All Religions be True?

Can conflicting religions be harmonized? Do dueling doctrines invalidate all religion? Is religion a reflection of the transcendent or the output of cultural mythology? Why is religious experience so powerful and religious institutions so pervasive?

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Why are Science and Religion at War?

Why are Science and Religion at War?

Science and religion each seek truth, so why do they battle? What is the essence of science and religion and can they live in harmony? Should they? If there is war, which side is winning?

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Can Science Provide Ultimate Answers?

Can Science Provide Ultimate Answers?

What are the limits of science? Can science approach the deepest truths of existence? Do consciousness and its mysteries restrict the explanatory reach of science? Why does humanity rely so heavily on science?

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What’s Fundamental in the Cosmos?

What’s Fundamental in the Cosmos?

Of what is the universe made? What’s the most basic stuff? Laws of physics? Essence of consciousness? If consciousness is fundamental, it might seem otherworldly, so how could consciousness relate to the physical world?

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Why is there Something Rather than Nothing?

Why is there Something Rather than Nothing?

Nothing is riveting. The nature of Nothing reveals deep insights about the nature of reality. How to understand the concept of ‘nothing’? Many forms of human inquiry, from physics to religion, start with ‘nothing’.

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Must the Universe Contain Consciousness?

Must the Universe Contain Consciousness?

Is it necessary that our universe bring forth consciousness? Or is consciousness incidental to the universe, a happy accident? Does the possibility of multiple universes change the debate?

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Towards a Science of Consciousness?

Towards a Science of Consciousness?

Is it possible to study consciousness scientifically? How do scientists and philosophers submit the mysteries of consciousness to experimental or analytic investigation? Are they making progress?

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Does Consciousness Depend on Language?

Does Consciousness Depend on Language?

IF we didn’t have language, would we have consciousness? Does language help create consciousness? Or does consciousness create language? What is the relationship between the two?

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What is the Nature of Personal Identity?

What is the Nature of Personal Identity?

We change constantly. The molecules in our bodies are replaced regularly, yet we feel we are unified persons across time. What is it about personal identity such that it can be maintained over a lifetime?

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What Would Immortality Feel Like?

What Would Immortality Feel Like?

Is it possible to survive bodily death? To live forever? What are conceivable ways that it could happen? What awareness would you have? Would you still be “you”?

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How do Humans Differ from Animals?

How do Humans Differ from Animals?

Humans and animals of all kinds have many commonalities. So what causes human’s enormous superiority? What do these similarities and superiorities tell us about what it means to be human?

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What is Truth?

What is Truth?

What’s so special about Truth? What is its essence and structure? Can we know what is really true? Are there absolute truths, or is all truth relative to personal or cultural ways of thinking?

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What is Belief?

What is Belief?

What’s the nature of personal belief? People believe so many different things, even opposing and contradictory things. So how can we have confidence in our own beliefs?

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How do Belief Systems Affect Believers?

How do Belief Systems Affect Believers?

Why do people believe the things they do? Why do people in similar cultures – religions, ethnic groups, classes - believe similar things? Can religions be true if they depend on cultures?

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Why Philosophy of Science?

Why Philosophy of Science?

What is the scope of science? What are its limits? If we exceed those limits, are we still in the realm of truth? Is there any real truth beyond science? Or are there kinds of truths not accessible by science?

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Realism vs. Anti-Realism

Realism vs. Anti-Realism

What can we know about the external world? Is it really out there, independent of our conscious awareness? Or is reality shaped by our perceptions – formed by our brains - and thus forever unknown in itself?

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Wondering about God

Wondering about God

Western religions pose a monotheistic, personal God, while Eastern traditions offer other ideas, including multiple deities and non-personal cosmic consciousness. Can these diverse beliefs relate?

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Does Evil Abolish God?

Does Evil Abolish God?

If God is all powerful and all good, why is there so much evil in the world? If you believe in Cosmic Consciousness - not in a personal God - how do you handle the problem of evil?

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Why the Cosmos?

Why the Cosmos?

Is the existence of our universe a brute fact, with no explanation at all? Or is there some reason behind the cosmos? Some claim God created it. Others that it’s an expression of Consciousness.

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