Philosopher and scientist Thomas Metzinger argues that neuroscience’s picture of the “self” as an emergent phenomenon of our biology and the attendant fact that the “self” can be manipulated—and even controlled—raises novel and serious ethical questions. If, as Metzinger argues, our conception of the self is a sort of tunnel-vision-like experience of the world, with little left in and much left out, can there be better or worse states of consciousness? And if so, what should we do to try to achieve them? Here, Metzinger outlines his vision of a moral philosophy of the mind.
Thomas Metzinger directs the Theoretical Philosophy Group at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He lives in Berlin.