Iain McGilchrist, "Hemispheric Asymmetry and the Approach to the Divine," IRC, University of Oxford

Thursday, 15 July 2021 7:20 PM - 9:00 PM BST

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Hemispheric Asymmetry and the Approach to the Divine Dr Iain McGilchrist, University of Oxford 7:30pm – 8:45pm, Thursday 15 July Online, via Microsoft Teams We will email you a link, from irc.events@theology.ox.ac.uk, after registration.

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Thursday, 15 July 2021 7:20 PM - 9:00 PM BST

Hemispheric Asymmetry and the Approach to the Divine

Dr Iain McGilchrist, University of Oxford


7:30pm – 8:45pm BST, Thursday 15 July

Online, via Zoom (register for the link please)




“In The Master and his Emissary, I outlined important differences in cognitive and emotional style between the brain hemispheres. In this talk I will build on that work, examining the capacity of either hemisphere to achieve an understanding of what it is we mean when we speak of the realm of the sacred and divine. The relevance is that I believe that in the modern West we live in a culture whose take on the world is strongly aligned with that of the left hemisphere at the expense of the right. I will suggest that hemisphere differences should not be expected to lead simply to theism or atheism, but to predictably distinct types of either phenomenon.”


DR IAIN MCGILCHRIST is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and former Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. He has been a Research Fellow in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore and a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Stellenbosch. He has published original articles and research papers in a wide range of publications on topics in literature, philosophy, medicine and psychiatry. He is the author of a number of books but is best-known for The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Yale 2009). His book on epistemology and ontology called The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World will be published by Perspectiva Press in November 2021. He lives on the Isle of Skye, and has two daughters and a son.




This event is available exclusively online via Zoom.


Numbers are limited to 500. Please register to obtain a link. We will email you a link from irc.events@theology.ox.ac.uk after registration.


This event is the public and introductory lecture for the conference, 

“Natural Theology in the Twenty-First Century”

Hosted by the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford.



Image: Part of Marta Minujín, Pausa transformacional, 1982, plaster, 39.3 x 39.5 x 31.8 cm – Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Ricardo Pau-Llosa, 1986 – Photo: Milli Apelgren.


The Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion (IRC) conducts research into religious beliefs and theological concepts in relation to the sciences. Research into beliefs focuses on the application of scientific tools to religious phenomena, such as in the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR). Research into theological concepts focuses principally on those metaphysical principles, such as persons, that are important to theology and are being seen from new perspectives by current developments in science. Members of the Centre also carry out extensive work on the history of science and religion, often challenging simplistic accounts of what has been a complex and varied interaction. Besides research, the Centre also runs a series of public seminars, generally once every two weeks during term time.

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