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Dutch Spinoza documentary featuring MPI director Peter Hagoort awarded the Golden Dolphin

The Dutch documentary 'Spinoza, een vrije denker' (English: ‘Spinoza, a free thinker’) was honored with the Golden Dolphin award in Cannes. MPI director Peter Hagoort features in this documentary, providing a neurobiological perspective on Spinoza’s philosophical questions about who we are and where we could find something that resembles a ‘soul’ in the human body.
Dutch Spinoza documentary featuring MPI director Peter Hagoort awarded the Golden Dolphin

Under the director Robin Lutz, the documentary ‘Spinoza, een vrije denker’ was awarded the Golden Dolphin in the History and Culture category. The documentary zooms into the life of the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who was born in Amsterdam in 1632. While Spinoza's life is hardly familiar to the wider audience, his ideas couldn't be more recent. Spinoza was one of the first thinkers who truly believed that all humans are equal. Based on this equality, he emphasized that every individual should have the right to believe, think and say what she or he likes.

The focus of the documentary is on Spinoza’s main question of who we are and where we could find something that resembles the soul in the human body. MPI director Prof. Peter Hagoort provides neuroscientific insight into this question by focusing on the working mechanisms of the human brain. Hagoort emphasizes the complexity of the 100,000km of connections between the neurons that make up the human brain, and how these connections determine who we are. Hagoort highlights that the questions of where the human soul is or whether humans have a free will can be reduced to the evidence we obtain from neuroscience. Based on this evidence, concepts like free will or the existence of a soul could be explained by the biological underpinnings of the neuronal architecture of the human brain.

The documentary has already been shown in the cinema and was broadcasted on NPO2 multiple times. You can still watch it (only available in Dutch) on the official homepage of NPO2 by following this link.

Last checked 2016-11-02 by CH
Max Planck Institute
About MPI

 

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

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