Collapse Volume V, 187–216


Enlightenment 2.0 (Interview)


Thomas Metzinger’s work is at the forefront of interdisciplinary research between the philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience. Marrying an encyclopedic grasp of the philosophical literature on consciousness with a superlative mastery of the latest neurobiological research, his Being No One is a groundbreaking work that recasts the terms in which the problem of consciousness is formulated. Although advances in cognitive neuroscience over the past twenty years have sparked a notable resurgence of interest in this problem among philosophers, many have argued that consciousness cannot be reductively explained by cognitive neuroscience, while others have gone so far as to insist that consciousness is a mystery that cannot be explained tout court, and that cognitive neuroscience lacks the resources to tackle ‘the hard problem’ of explaining how first-person subjective consciousness could ever arise from un-conscious neurophysiological processes. In our interview, Metzinger discusses not only how he confronts this philosophical challenge head-on by forging new conceptual resources capable of bridging this allegedly irreducible ‘explanatory gap’, but also how innovations such as the concept at the heart of his new theoretical framework—the ‘phenomenal self-model’—might impact upon the personal and social experience of being human…