Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici: Thomas Metzinger (Mainz) on “Body Representation and Self-Consciousness: From Embodiment to Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood” 04/12/2012

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Thomas Metzinger (Mainz) will give a talk at Bogazici on Tuesday, December 4th, from 5-7pm in TB130:

“Body Representation and Self-Consciousness: 
From Embodiment to Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood.”

ABSTRACT: As a philosopher, I am interested in the relationship between body representation and the deep structure of self-consciousness. My epistemic goal in this lecture will be the simplest form of phenomenal self-consciousness: What exactly are the essential non-conceptual, pre-reflexive layers in conscious self-representation?  What constitutes a minimal phenomenal self? Conceptually, I will defend the claim that agency is not part of the metaphysically necessary supervenience-basis for bodily self-consciousness. Empirically, I will draw on recent research focusing on out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and full-body illusions (FBIs). I will then proceed to sketch a new research program and advertise a new research target: “Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood”, ending with an informal argument for the thesis that agency or “global control”, phenomenologically as well as functionally, is not a necessary condition for self-consciousness.

Thomas Metzinger is a leading contemporary German philosopher. He has been active since the early 1990s in the promotion of consciousness studies as an academic endeavour. As a co-founder, he has been particularly active in the organization of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC), and sat on the board of directors of that organisation from 1995 to 2008. He served as president of the ASSC in 2009/10. Metzinger is director of the MIND group and has been president of the German cognitive science society from 2005 to 2007. In 2003 Metzinger published the monograph Being No One. In this book he argues that no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. He argues that the phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a “transparent self-model.” In 2009 Metzinger published a follow-up book to Being No One for a general audience: The Ego Tunnel. In English he has also published two edited works, Conscious Experience (1995), and Neural correlates of consciousness: empirical and conceptual issues (2000).

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Written by Lucas Thorpe

November 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

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