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Consciousness: How Can We Solve the Greatest Mystery in Science?

The Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) — one of a trio of charitable entities established by the U.S.-born British philanthropist John Templeton — believes it can help. The TWCF funds research to ‘enrich individual lives and redefine the frontier of human knowledge and progress’. At the end of 2019, it launched a new multimillion-dollar funding initiative called Accelerating Research On Consciousness. The aim is to stimulate greater progress in the consciousness field, effectively by reducing the number of competing theories. “I would consider the initiative successful if we kill off one theory,” says Dawid Potgieter at the TWCF, who set up and is overseeing the exercise. The initiative is based on an approach known as ‘adversarial collaboration’, where two or more scientists with opposing views work together to resolve issues in science. It is advocated by the Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who pioneered our understanding of how people make decisions.

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