Université de Strasbourg

Public lecture: The Spread Mind: A mind-object identity approach to the problem of consciousness

December 11, 2018
From 15:30 until 17:00
Salle de Conférence, MISHA, 5, allée du Général Rouvillois, Strasbourg

By Riccardo Manzotti - Professor of theoretical philosophy - International University of Languages and Media (IULM), Milan, Italy

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Consciousness is still an elusive phenomenon whose nature and causes are largely unknown. Decades of neuroscientific research have not solved the problem of physical underpinnings of subjective experience. What and where is consciousness in the physical world? Whenever standard perception takes place, along with one’s body and one’s brain, there is also the external object. Could the object be the thing that is identical to one’s experience?

In this lecture, Professor Manzotti will present a mind-object identity theory of consciousness, a radical externalist departure from the accepted internalism of neuroscience, and will discuss its theoretical implications and supporting empirical evidence. The theory is based on a simple hypothesis: one’s experience of an object is identical with the object itself. The notion of physical objects is reconsidered in terms of object-relativity, where ‘relative’ is read more as in ‘relative velocity’ than as in ‘relative to a subject’. The proposed view requires no emergent properties and is neither a form of panpsychism nor a variant of neutral monism. Manzotti will defend this hypothesis against pressing internalist objections involving cases of hallucinations, dreams, mental imagery, subjective variability, and phantom limbs.


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