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Are our self and its consciousness in the brain? A neuropsychiatric and neurophilosophical adventure trip

Georg Northoff

Canada Research Chair in Mind, Brain, Imaging and Neuroethics, ELJB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health Research Unit Director


What is consciousness? What is the self? These are originally philosophical questions which most recently have also been addressed in neuroscience. However, there may be discrepancies between neuro-scientific, i.e., empirical and philosophical, i.e., conceptual and ontological approaches to self and consciousness. This raises the question for an empirically informed view of self and consciousness. Dwelling on recent results in neuropsychiatric patients, I will sketch an empirically-informed view where, unlike in much of the philosophical tradition and current cognitive neuro-scientific self and consciousness are no longer conceived as higher-order cognitive function but rather basic functions of the brain's spontaneous activity and its spatiotemporal structure.

With contributions from

Emer. Prof. Dr. Lueder Deecke (Department of Medical Neurology, Medical University of Vienna)

Prof. Dr. Matthew Ratcliffe (Institute of Philosophy, University of Vienna)

Moderated by

Former Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik (Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna)

Vienna Conference on Consciousness
Department für Verhaltensbiologie
Universität Wien

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