Thomas Metzinger

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Thomas Metzinger
File:Thomas metzinger speaking.jpg
Thomas Metzinger (2011)
Born (1958-03-12) March 12, 1958 (age 64)
Frankfurt, Germany
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Main interests

Thomas Metzinger (born 12 March 1958) is a German philosopher. As of 2011 he holds the position of director of the theoretical philosophy group at the department of philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and is an Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and on the advisory board of the Giordano Bruno Foundation. From 2008 to 2009 he served as a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin; from 2014 to 2019 he is a Fellow at the Gutenberg Research College.

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 English he has published two edited works, Conscious Experience (1995), and Neural correlates of consciousness: empirical and conceptual issues (2000). The latter book arose out of the second ASSC meeting, for which he acted as local organizer. In 2015, together with Jennifer M. Windt, he published the Open MIND-collection, containing more than 100 original, peer-reviewed open access-papers from philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and neuroscience.

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 (Basic Books, New York, ISBN 0-465-04567-7).

Metzinger's work addresses some of the fundamental issues in neurobiology, consciousness, and the relationship between mind and body.

Metzinger's interests include:

  • Philosophy of mind (esp. philosophical aspects of empirical theories in the neuro- and cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence, and related areas of research).
  • Ethics (esp. conceptual connections between applied ethics, the philosophy of mind and anthropology)

Metzinger supervises The Neuroethics Web Portal. He is currently serving on the editorial board for the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness.


  • (1985) Neuere Beiträge zur Diskussion des Leib-Seele-Problems. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 3-8204-8927-4
  • (1993) Subjekt und Selbstmodell. Die Perspektivität phänomenalen Bewußtseins vor dem Hintergrund einer naturalistischen Theorie mentaler Repräsentation. mentis, Paderborn, ISBN 3-89785-081-8
  • (2003) Being No One. The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., ISBN 0-262-13417-9 (Hardcover)/ISBN 0262633086 (Paperback)
  • (2009) The Ego Tunnel - The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self Basic Books, New York, ISBN 0-465-04567-7
  • (2009) Der Ego-Tunnel - Eine neue Philosophie des Selbst: Von der Hirnforschung zur Bewusstseinsethik Berlin Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-8270-0630-9
  • (2010) Der Ego Tunnel. Eine neue Philosophie des Selbst: Von der Hirnforschung zur Bewusstseinsethik. Berlin: Berlin Verlag. eBook ISBN 978-3-8270-7037-1
  • (2011) Being No One. The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Kindle edition; ASIN: B004ELBJ56
  • (1995) Bewußtsein – Beiträge aus der Gegenwartsphilosophie., Paderborn, mentis, Paderborn, ISBN 3-89785-012-5
  • (1995) Conscious Experience. Imprint Academic, Thorverton und mentis, Paderborn, ISBN 0-907845-10-X (Hardcover)
  • (2000) Neural Correlates of Consciousness – Empirical and Conceptual Questions. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., ISBN 0-262-13370-9 (Hardcover)
  • (2006) Grundkurs Philosophie des Geistes – Band 1: Phänomenales Bewusstsein mentis, Paderborn, ISBN 3-89785-551-8
  • (2007) Grundkurs Philosophie des Geistes – Band 2: Das Leib-Seele-Problem mentis, Paderborn, ISBN 3-89785-552-6
  • (2010) Grundkurs Philosophie des Geistes – Band 3: Intentionalität und mentale Repräsentation mentis Paderborn, ISBN 978-3-89785-553-3. All three volumes can be purchased for 78 Euros, ISBN 978-3-89785-554-0.
  • (2015, with Jennifer M. Windt). Open MIND-collection, Frankfurt am Main: MIND Group. ISBN 978-3-95857-102-0.
Selected articles and book chapters
  • (2003; with Vittorio Gallese) The emergence of a shared action ontology: building blocks for a theory In G. Knoblich, B. Elsner, G. von Aschersleben, und T. Metzinger (eds), Self and Action. Special issue of Consciousness & Cognition (12:4), 549-571.
  • (2003) Phenomenal transparency and cognitive self-reference Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2, 353-393. doi:10.1023/B:PHEN.0000007366.42918.eb.
  • (2003) Phänomenale Transparenz und kognitive Selbstbezugnahme In U. Haas-Spohn (Hrsg.), Intentionalität zwischen Subjektivität und Weltbezug. Paderborn: mentis. Seite 411-459.
  • (2003) Why are identity-disorders interesting for philosophers? In Thomas Schramme und Johannes Thome (Hrsg.), Philosophy and Psychiatry. Berlin: de Gruyter. S. 311-25.
  • Précis of "Being No One" In PSYCHE - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness, 11 (5), 1-35.
  • (2005) Out-of-body experiences as the origin of the concept of a "soul". Mind and Matter, 3(1), 57-84.
  • (2005) Die Selbstmodell-Theorie der Subjektivität: Eine Kurzdarstellung in sechs Schritten In C. S. Herrmann, M. Pauen, J. W. Rieger und S. Schicktanz (Hrsg.), Bewusstsein: Philosophie, Neurowissenschaften, Ethik. Stuttgart: UTB/Fink . S. 242-269.
  • (2006) Being No One – Eine sehr kurze deutsche Zusammenfassung. In Grundkurs Philosophie des Geistes – Band 1: Phänomenales Bewusstsein. S. 424-475.
  • (2006) Conscious volition and mental representation: Towards a more fine-grained analysis In N. Sebanz und W. Prinz (Hrsg.), Disorders of Volition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. S. 19-48.
  • (2007; with B. Lenggenhager, T. Tadi und O. Blanke) Video Ergo Sum: Manipulating bodily self-consciousness Science, 317, 1096-1099.
  • (2008) Empirical perspectives from the self-model theory of subjectivity: A brief summary with examples In Rahul Banerjee and Bikas K. Chakrabarti (eds.), Progress in Brain Research, 168: 215-246. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • (2009; mit O. Blanke) Full-body illusions and minimal phenomenal selfhood.,Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13(1): 7-13.
  • (2010) The No-Self-Alternative Chapter 11 in S. Gallagher (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Self. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 279-296.
  • (2011a; with Elisabeth Hildt). Cognitive Enhancement . In J. Illes and B.J. Sahakian (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. P. 245-264.
  • (2013a)Why are dreams interesting for philosophers?? Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 746.
  • (2013b)The Myth of Cognitive Agency. Frontiers in Psychology, 4:931.
  • (2014d). First-order embodiment, second-order embodiment, third-order embodiment: From spatiotemporal self-location to minimal phenomenal selfhood (Chapter 26). In Lawrence Shapiro (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition. London: Routledge. pp. 272–286.
  • (2015c, with Jennifer M. Windt) What does it mean to have an open mind? (General Introduction to Open MIND-collection). Frankfurt am Main: MIND Group. ISBN 978-3-95857-104-4.
  • (2009) Philosophie des Bewusstseins (5 DVDs)- 15 Vorlesungen an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz vom Wintersemester 2007/2008 Auditorium-Netzwerk.

External links