Thomas Metzinger appointed Fellow of the Gutenberg Research College
Internationally renowned philosopher plans to further extend links between analytical philosophy and neuroscientific research
Thomas Metzinger, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), was recently appointed a Fellow of the Gutenberg Research College (GRC). Metzinger is one of Germany's leading philosophers and an internationally renowned researcher in the field of philosophy of the mind. His work focuses on questions of human consciousness and the self, combining both philosophical and neuroscientific approaches. Metzinger has been a professor at JGU since 2000, where he is also Director of the Theoretical Philosophy Group and the Research Group on Neuroethics and Neurophilosophy. "His academic brilliance and interdisciplinary research make Thomas Metzinger one of the outstanding philosophers of our time. His work is known well beyond the confines of his subject. We are happy to welcome him as a Fellow of the Gutenberg Research College," said GRC Director Professor Matthias Neubert.
In his work, Metzinger attempts to link brain research with philosophical theories in order to investigate aspects of consciousness and the self in humans. His theory that the 'self' does not actually exist but is merely a construction of the human brain has raised popular interest. In his book "The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self," he laid out this theory for the interested general public. In support of his argument, he cites, among other things, the phenomenon of full-body illusions, which can be elicited using virtual reality techniques. Academic articles on the subject have been widely published, for example in the renowned journal Science.
Metzinger obtained his doctorate in 1985 from Goethe University Frankfurt with a dissertation on "New Contributions to the Discussion of the Body-Mind Problem" and his postdoctoral lecturing qualification in 1992 at Justus Liebig University Giessen for his work on "Subject and Self Model". He taught and undertook research in Saarbrücken, Bremen, San Diego, and Osnabrück before being appointed Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at JGU's Department of Philosophy. In acknowledgment of his research, Metzinger has been awarded fellowships by distinguished institutions, such as the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Bielefeld Center for Interdisciplinary Research, as well as a guest professorship at the Scuola di Alta Formazione Filosofica in Turin, Italy. He is the initiator and still coordinates the MIND Group based at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, which is a group of young researchers from various disciplines who investigate aspects associated with the mind, consciousness, and cognition.
As a GRC Fellow for the next five years, Metzinger will concentrate on enhancing the link between analytical philosophy and empirical neuroscientific research and continue to focus on the problems of consciousness and the self.