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'The Ground from which We Speak:

An unusual conversation'

by Prof. Alexandra Greiser and Dr. Fred Cummins

Mar 4, 2015. Dublin City Council 'The LAB'


Moderated by Emer O Boyle, Director/Founder UCD Parity Studios

This talk was organised as part of the programme of events for the exhibition Welcome Disturbances – a joint partnership between UCD Art In Science and Dublin City Council The LAB.


The ground from which we speak is the unseen, unacknowledged background,

without which nothing we say could make sense to us. As we speak, we reveal

our own embedding in webs of belief. This is as true of scientists as it is of clerics

or farmers. In this unusual debate, two scholars from very different fields will

interact, in unscripted but moderated fashion, to ask about how we negotiate

reality, how we access truth, and how we manage the conflicting claims of the

political, religious, scientific, legal, and common everyday reality. The vastly

different fields of the two speakers converge in consideration of very concrete

aspects to the creation of a common world: the sensory basis for the reality we

meet, and the form of the words we utter together.


Prof. Alexandra Greiser is Assistant Professor for the Theory of Religion in Trinity College Dublin. In her work, she explores the interconnectedness of knowledge from domains of religion,science, politics, and beyond, with a singular interest in the aesthetics of knowledge.


Dr. Fred Cummins is Senior Lecturer and cognitive scientist in University College Dublin. His work on joint speech, as found in prayer and protest, provides an empirical route to studying the ground of belief, and it confronts us with the challenge of reconciling individual and collective intentions.


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Camera – Jenny Brady (DCC The LAB)