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  • Philip Ball & Iain McGilchrist

Biology, the Brain, and the Meanings of Life: Philip Ball in Conversation with Iain McGilchrist

A profound but quiet transformation in biology is changing the way we think about life.

Philip Ball—physicist, longtime contributor and former editor at Nature, and the author of over 25 books—explores this paradigm shift in his latest book, How Life Works: A Users Guide to the New Biology.

As part of our Meanings of Science Project, Marginalia's Editor and Project Director, Samuel Loncar, hosted a conversation with Philip Ball and Iain McGilchrist, psychiatrist, neuroscience researcher, philosopher, and the author of The Matter With Things.

Ball and McGilchrist are two of our distinguished Meanings of Science Project members helping to create a new culture of scientific literacy and debate that deepens the public understanding of science and integrates science's deepest insights for everyone.


We met again for the first time since our symposium event at Oxford University, zooming in from around the world to discuss the scientific breakthrough happening in biology: the long-held picture of biology—a mechanistic image—is currently being challenged.

In Part One of this lively and in-depth conversation, made possible by the support from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Ball and McGilchrist address some of our most fundamental questions about life: What is meaning? Does biology need purpose? And the ultimate question—why life at all?


Watch on YouTube.


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