Consciousness is a hot issue within both philosophical and scientific discussions. Empirical research achieved impressive results in recent years, e.g. in the identification of the so-called neural correlates of consciousness, which are a set of neuronal structures and functions correlating with conscious phenomena. Yet a fundamental gap between scientific, third-person descriptions of consciousness and first-person reports and experiences still exists.
We are engaged in trying to develop a new conceptual framework to bridge the gap between neuroscientific and personal concepts of consciousness. As a first result, a new model of consciousness, the Intrinsic Consciousness Theory (ICT), has been suggested.
Working within the framework of the European Human Brain Project, the project aims at:
- Exploring most recent empirical findings about conscious phenomena
- Developing a theoretical interpretation of relevant empirical data
- Developing and refining the Intrinsic Consciousness Theory (ICT), with particular focus on its conceptual and ethical implications
- Analysing the impact of ICT on the assessment and care of people with compromised consciousness, e.g. patients with disorders of consciousness
Evers K, Sigman, M. Possibilities and limits of mind-reading: a neurophilosophical perspective. Consci. Cogn. 2013;22, 887–897.
Farisco M, Laureys S, Evers K, Externalization of Consciousness. Scientific Possibilities and Clinical Implications, in: Geyer M, Ellenbroek B, Marsden C (eds), Current Topics in Behavioural Neurosciences, 2014, doi: 10.1007/7854_2014_338
Farisco M, Evers, K. Neurotechnology and direct brain communication. New insights and responsibilities concerning speechless but communicative subjects. New York: Routledge; 2016.
Evers K. Neurotechnological assessment of consciousness disorders: five ethical imperatives. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2016;18(2).
Evers K, Giordano J. The Utility- and Use– of Neurotechnology to Recover Consciousness: Technical and Neuroethical Considerations in Approaching the “Hard Question” of Neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 21 November 2017.
Farisco M, Laureys, S., Evers, K. The intrinsic activity of the brain and its relation to levels and disorders of consciousness. Mind and Matter. In Press
Contact and more information
- Michele Farisco, PhD, PhD Student
- Kathinka Evers, PhD, Senior Researcher
The Human Brain Project
The Human Brain Project is one of the European Community flagship projects and involves over 100 groups. Kathinka Evers leads the philosophical research.
Communicating with unconscious patients
The instrumental investigation and assessment of consciousness have witnessed an astonishing progress over the last years. Michele Farisco has looked at the neuroscience of disorders of consiousness.
Pervasive refusal syndrome
Karl Sallin is studying pervasive refusal syndrome as a disorder of consciousness.