Thomas Metzinger over the brain research and the will-free debate. Part 1
With his book of ego tunnel, the philosopher Thomas Metzinger has drawn a debate on the transferability of results from neuro science into philosophy and to the autonomy of the will. To the extended new edition of the book, Telepolis talked to the author.
Mr. Metzinger, which revealing findings has made brain research in the public – and how they are fertile for everyday life and other sciences? Thomas Metzinger: Since they had to ask a brain researcher as a philosopher. Real revolutions are rather rare in science, because the strong of the scientific method is just that they progress incrementally (in many small steps). Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis are now understood, for example, the underlying mechanisms much better, but depression and schizophrenia are examples of the fact that knowledge progress does not always reflect directly in new, functioning therapies. On the other hand, there is an interesting part aspect of the current development: neurotechnology arises from neuroscience, and a small subset of these neurotechnologies will also be consciousness technologies. I head in Mainz the research center Neuroethik, as I made clear in the expanded new edition of my book, we basically even need something like one "Consciousness": In the future, there will be technologies that always access more direct, pracisers and even more selective on the neural correlate of subjective experience itself. But what is one "goods" State of consciousness? In it we have to understand ourselves socially. We do not come around an ethical basic discussion. Important objectives are suffering, self-knowledge, sustainability and the increase of mental autonomy. You can concretize that a little? Thomas Metzinger: Take like research on the virtual embodiment and robotic re-embodiment :: verreproject.EU as an example. If the basic idea of self-model theory is correct, then there is a whole series of empirical predictions that have to be experimentally confirmed. One of these predictions is that it must be in principle possible, the conscious self-model in the human brain direct to connect with external systems – for example with computers, robots or with artificial corporation images on the Internet or in virtual realities. This prediction has recently been confirmed. In the latest time there are namely gross progress in the field of so-called brain computer interfaces (so-called bcis; in German one says "Brain Computer Interface", sometimes too "Brain-machine interface" or "Calculator brain interface"), and these progress makes it possible to examine the empirical aspects of the self-model theory from philosophy more precisely.