Interview & discussion with Professor Thomas Metzinger

Consciousness is humanity’s most primary and fundamental experience yet it is also its most elusive. Just What is consciousness? This question has plagued history’s greatest philosophers and scientists. Subsequently this has produced the most polarised views that include dualism and the soul (that mind and brain are distinct) to the most reductive elements of naturalistic materialism where some even argue that what we experience as consciousness is merely an illusion that arises from modal brain states

Thomas Metzinger is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and an Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Study (FIAS). He is also Director of the Neuroethics Research Unit in Mainz and Director of the MIND Group at the FIAS. Metzinger is past president of the German Cognitive Science Society (2005-2007) and of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (2009-2011). His focus of research lies in analytical philosophy of mind and cognitive science, as well as in connections between ethics, philosophy of mind and anthropology. In the English language, he has edited two collections on consciousness (“Conscious Experience”, Paderborn: mentis & Thorverton, UK: Imprint Academic, 1995; “Neural Correlates of Consciousness”, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000) and published one major scientific monograph developing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary theory about consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective (“Being No One – The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity”, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003). In 2009, he published a popular book, which addresses a wider audience and discusses the ethical, cultural and social consequences of consciousness research (“The Ego Tunnel – The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self”, New York: Basic Books). A revised and greatly expanded German edition has appeared in 2014, which is now also translated in other languages like Russian, Chinese, Polish, Spanish etc. An important recent Open Access collection (2015) is Open MIND, which you can find here, as well as Predictive Mind (2017), which you can find here