17 Works

The phenomenon of voice-hearing: an interdisciplinary approach. An interview with Simon McCarthy-Jones.

Simon McCarthy-Jones & Mathieu Frerejouan
The study of voice hearing has been traditionally kept within the limits of psychiatry field which, by reducing it to the pathological phenomenon of “auditory verbal hallucinations”, mainly focused on its neurobiological origins. However new approaches of voice hearing, coming from the field of psychology as well as of politics, have emerged recently. Simon McCarthy-Jones contributes to this effort of renewing and enlarging our understanding of voice hearing, by apprehending this phenomenon through its diversity,...

Of woodlice and men: A Bayesian account of cognition, life and consciousness. An interview with Karl Friston.

Karl Friston, Martin Fortier & Daniel Friedman
Prof. Karl J. Friston is a scientist who has made fundamental contributions to areas such as functional brain imaging, statistical techniques for dynamical systems, and the Free Energy Principle (FEP). Here, various topics are formally and informally explored. First there are personal, scientific, and mathematical accounts related to the (origins of the) FEP, and how the FEP diverges from the Predictive coding and Bayesian brain hypotheses. Next, there is a discussion of how the FEP...

Psychedelics and Sociality : probing the diversity of cognition beyond individuals. An interview with Katrin Preller.

Katrin Preller & Guillaume Dumas
In this interview, we discuss how beyond the tremendous therapeutic opportunities offered by psychedelics, they also provide a unique opportunity to investigate social cognition in a causal way and thus increase our mechanistic understanding of it. We argue this basic research is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and assure their clinical efficacy. However, revealing this potential requires a great deal of education for clinicians and researchers. This includes scientific rigor both in terms of...

Relocating dreams on the conceptual map: how the analysis of sleep and dreaming challenges our taxonomy of mental states. An interview with Jennifer Windt.

Jennifer Windt, Alessio Bucci & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Jennifer Windt discusses the importance of studying dreams to understand consciousness, how theories of dreaming have evolved over time, how neuroimaging has influenced the way in which we think about dreams, how we might redefine the taxonomy of conscious phenomena occurring during sleep, the role of first-person reports in dream research, her own Immersive Spatiotemporal Hallucination (ISTH) model of dreaming, as well as challenges for future research.

The anthropology of mind: Exploring unusual sensations and spiritual experiences across cultures. An interview with Tanya Luhrmann.

Tanya Luhrmann & Martin Fortier
In this interview, Tanya Luhrmann discusses her position within the field of anthropology as well as her methodological commitments. She also addresses her view about the mechanisms governing the shift from experiential unreality (imagination-like mental representations) to experiential reality (perception-like mental representations) as well as the role of personal proclivity (in particular the trait of absorption) within religious practice and experience. Finally, the interview tackles the question of cognitive penetrability: can folk models of the...

Verbal hallucinations, intentionality, and interpersonal experience. An interview with Matthew Ratcliffe.

Matthew Ratcliffe & Mathieu Frerejouan
If the philosophical tradition of phenomenological psychopathology has been renewed these last years, the topic of hallucinations has been often neglected for the benefits of syndromes such as schizophrenia or autism. This omission has been corrected by Matthew Ratcliffe who, after studying depression in his previous work, not only opened the field of phenomenological psychology to hallucinations, but also put forward how hallucinatory experiences can enlighten the structure of human experience as being intrinsically vulnerable...

Consciousness and psychedelics. An interview with Robin Carhart-Harris.

Robin Carhart-Harris, Martin Fortier & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Robin Carhart-Harris discusses empirical and theoretical issues related to the current renaissance of scientific research on states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs. In particular, he talks about the limitations of neuroimaging techniques to measure the effects of psychedelic drugs on the human brain, the reliability of self-report questionnaires to assess the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs, the nature of the phenomenon known as drug-induced ego-dissolution, the role of the default mode...

Dennett Explained. An interview with Daniel Dennett.

Daniel Dennett, Brendan Fleig-Goldstein & Daniel Friedman
Throughout his long career, Professor Daniel Dennett has been notable for bringing together the ideas of academic philosophy, workbench scientists, artificial intelligence pioneers, and even “cultish” intellectual figures like Julian Jaynes and J.J. Gibson. In this interview, Dennett discusses his philosophical roots, as well as his thoughts on Freud, predictive processing, psychedelics, consciousness, and ancient Athens. Dennett believes that philosophers have the ability to criticize and contribute to the science of the mind, and speaks...

The evolutionary neuroanthropology of consciousness : exploring the diversity of conscious states across cultures. An interview with Michael Winkelman.

Michael Winkelman & Martin Fortier
In this interview, Michael Winkelman and Martin Fortier discuss the extent to which consciousness is grounded in deep evolutionary mechanisms and can be enculturated. First, the main tenets of two neuroanthropological approaches to consciousness and culture are outlined. Next, the upsides and downsides of evolutionary psychology are examined; the fruitfulness of this approach in the study of cultural phenomena such as shamanism is debated. The authors then discuss the promises of the “big data” approach...

The role of hypnosis and meditation in consciousness research. An interview with Zoltan Dienes.

Zoltan Dienes & Jean-Remy Martin
In this interview, Zoltan Dienes (Brighton, UK), specialist in consciousness studies, answers questions related to hypnosis and meditation: Why are hypnosis and mindfulness interesting topics for the study of consciousness? Is the notion of altered state of consciousness a useful notion in the context of hypnosis and mindfulness? What do we know about the neurocognitive mechanisms sustaining the action of hypnosis and mindfulness? There is a long tradition of using hypnosis clinically, particularly as an...

On different ways of being conscious: Modes of consciousness and the predictive mind. An interview with Jakob Hohwy.

Jakob Hohwy & Matthieu Koroma
Is consciousness an all-or-none or graded phenomenon? Much research has been devoted to investigate this question for contents of consciousness (e.g. ‘I see a red rose’), but far less for global states of consciousness (e.g. being awake or asleep). Philosopher and experimentalist Jabob Hohwy argues that global states of consciousness do not come in degrees or ‘levels’, but rather in modes, i.e., as different ways of being conscious. Capturing the diversity of conscious states requires...

Towards a biocultural approach of dissociative consciousness. An interview with Rebecca Seligman.

Rebecca Seligman & Arnaud Halloy
In this interview, we discuss Rebecca Seligman’s work on dissociative states and possession in Candomblé in the light of a biocultural approach. Normative dimension of ASC is emphasized, and bio-cultural dualism criticized. Possession itself cannot be reduced to a post hoc cultural explanation of a state but should rather be understood as the product of an embodiment – and bio-looping - process fundamentally shaped by sociocultural meanings and practices. Methods of ethnographic enquiry are also...

Splendor and misery of self-models: Conceptual and empirical issues regarding consciousness and self-consciousness. An interview with Thomas Metzinger.

Thomas Metzinger, Jakub Limanowski & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Thomas Metzinger discusses the value of empirical evidence for philosophy of mind, the indeterminacy of the sense of self, the notion of phenomenal transparency, the disagreement between competing theories of mental representation, ethical issues regarding the development of artificial consciousness, and the relevance of so-called 'first-person methods' in cognitive science

Am I autistic? An intellectual autobiography

Karl Friston
Autobiography, Free Energy Principle, Autism, Education, Childhood

On the “feel” of things: the sensorimotor theory of consciousness. An interview with Kevin O’Regan.

J. Kevin O'Regan & Cordelia Erickson-Davis
In this interview, O’Regan discusses how his sensorimotor theory of consciousness answers the “hard” problem of consciousness by reframing all perceptual experience as ways of interacting with the world. Why do things feel the way they do? Why does “red” look “red” rather than “green”. Why does “red” not sound like a bell? Because each experience involves different ways of interacting with the world; each marked by variation in the sensorimotor contingencies of the animal...

Wandering along the spectrum of spontaneous thinking: dreaming, meditation, mind-wandering, and well-being. An interview with Kieran Fox.

Kieran Fox & Matthieu Koroma
About half of our conscious activity is not related to our direct sensory environment. Such spontaneous thinking has nevertheless long been neglected due to the difficulty to tackle it experimentally. Neuroscientific Kieran Fox discusses recent efforts to understand and conceptualize the diversity of spontaneous activity within a single framework. The relation of mind-wandering to other phenomena such as dreaming and mediation is highlighted. Far from being a distracting nuisance, the role of spontaneous thoughts in...

How to study consciousness as a natural phenomenon. An interview with Tim Bayne.

Tim Bayne, Alessio Bucci & Matthieu Koroma
The field of the scientific study of consciousness has seen a flourishing of methodologies and theories. The debate over what defines consciousness and how we should study it is, however, yet to be settled. Philosopher Tim Bayne has proposed the “natural kind” approach, suggesting that consciousness properties should be empirically informed rather than defined a priori. Relying on the cross-talk between philosophy and empirical science, he proposes a cautious and integrative outlook that takes into...

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