Retribution is really a stone age concept.

— Thomas Metzinger

The most uplifting Thomas Metzinger quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

I think that there is an ongoing conspiracy in the philosophical community, an organized form of self-deception, as in a cult, to simply all together pretend that we knew what "first-person perspective" (or "quale" or "consciousness") means, so that we can keep our traditional debates running on forever.

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Only as long as we believe in our own identity over time does it make sense for us to make future plans, avoid risks, and treat our fellow human beings fairly - for the consequences of our actions will, in the end, always concern ourselves.

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As a first-order approximation, I would say that phenomenality is "availability for introspective attention": Consciousness is a property of all those mental contents to which you can in principle direct your attention.

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A lot of evidence shows that most of our cognitive processing is unconscious - phenomenal experience is just a very small slice or partition of a much larger space in which mental processing takes place.

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The notion of a conscious model of oneself as an individual entity actively trying to establish epistemic relations to the world and to oneself, I think, comes very close to what we traditionally mean by notions like "subjectivity".

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Subjectivity means to catch yourself in the act.

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Imagine you are trying to lose weight and attempting to concentrate on writing an article, but there is a bowl with your favorite chocolate cookies in your field of vision, a permanent immoral offer. If we are capable of rejecting such offers or to postpone them into the future, then we can also concentrate on that which we currently want to do.

3

One of the interesting characteristics of the Ego Tunnel is that it creates (as Finnish philosopher Antti Revonsuo called it) a robust "out-of-the brain experience", a highly realistic experience of not operating on internal models, but of effortlessly being in direct and immediate contact with the external world - and oneself.

3

Conscious experience as such is an exclusively internal affair: Once all functional properties of your brain are fixed, the character of subjective experience is determined as well.

3

Speaking as a phenomenologist, it seems to me that a considerable portion of mind wandering actually is "mental avoidance behaviour", an attempt to cope with adverse internal stimuli or to protect oneself from a deeper processing of information that threatens self-esteem.

3

I believe that if we would carefully apply the distinction between transparency and opacity to the different layers of the human self-model, looking at self-consciousness in a much more careful and fine-grained manner, then we might also arrive at a new answer to your original question: What a "first-person perspective" really is.

3

Subjective time flows forward, the phenomenal self is embedded into this flow, an inner history unfolds. That it is why it is not a bubble, but a tunnel: There is movement in time.

3

About Thomas Metzinger

Quotes 37 sayings
Profession Philosopher
Birthday March 12, 1958

For a human being, to possess a consciously experienced first-person perspective means to have acquired a very specific functional profile and distinctive level of representational content in one's currently active phenomenal self-model: It has, episodically, become a dynamic inner model of a knowing self.

2

I believe we should really take our own phenomenology more seriously.

What a good theory of conscious must explain is the variance in this subjective sense of realness: There clearly is a phenomenology of "hyperrealness", for example during religious experiences or under the influence of certain psychoactive substances.

2

I believe that gut feelings, the sense of balance, and spatial self-perception are so firmly coupled to our biological body that we will never be able to leave it experientially on a permanent basis.

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Consciousness is phenomenologically subjective whenever there is a stable, consciously experienced first-person perspective.

2

Of course, I strongly sympathized with Habermas and the philosophers representing the Frankfurt school, but I also saw the lack of conceptual clarity, and perceived the not-so-revolutionary self-importance in the epigones of Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas.

2

All attention is introspection.

0

Dolphins frequently leap above the water surface.

One reason for this behaviour could be that, when travelling longer distances, jumping can save the dolphins energy as there is less friction while in the air.

0

You cannot be a rational subject without veto-control on the level of mental action.

0

As modern-day neuroscience tells us, we are never in touch with the present, because neural information-processing itself takes time. Signals take time to travel from your sensory organs along the multiple neuronal pathways in your body to your brain, and they take time to be processed and transformed into objects, scenes, and complex situations. So, strictly speaking, what you are experiencing as the present moment is actually the past.

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Someone who cannot stop his outer flow of words will soon be unable to communicate with other human beings at all.

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Virtual reality is the representation of possible worlds and possible selves, with the aim of making them appear as real as possible - ideally, by creating a subjective sense of "presence" and full immersion in the user.

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If we lose the ability in question for a single moment only, we are immediately being hijacked by an aggressive little "Think me!" and our mind begins to wander.

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The conscious experience of being a subject arises when a single organism learns to enslave itself.

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When you are simply observing your breath, you are perceiving an automatically unfolding process in your body. By contrast, when you are observing your wandering mind, you are also experiencing the spontaneous activity of a process in your body.

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As far as inner action is concerned, we are only rarely truly self-determined persons, for the major part of our conscious mental activity rather is an automatic, unintentional form of behavior on the subpersonal level.

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What many people don't see is that there are abundant examples of phenomenal opacity: It is one of the most interesting features of the human conscious model of reality that, first, it can contain elements that are not experienced as mind-independent, as unequivocally real, as immediately given, and second, that there is a "gradient of realness" in which one and the same content can be experienced transparently or in an opaque fashion.

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The self is not a thing, but a process.

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As a philosopher, you define constraints for any good theory explaining what you are interested in, then you go out and search for help in other disciplines.

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I could never understand how someone would embark on their life without having first confronted and clarified the truly fundamental questions.

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At 19, I basically held the position that if you were intellectually honest and really wanted to get in touch with political reality then you had to smell tear-gas.

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Subjectivity is an ability, the capacity to use a new inner mode of presenting the fact that you currently know something to yourself.

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In ordinary life, the phenomenology of embodied emotions is an excellent example for dynamic changes between transparency and opacity: You can "directly perceive" that your wife is cheating you, or you can become aware of the possibility that maybe it is you who has a problem, that your "immediate" emotional representation of social reality might actually be a misrepresentation.

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The Ego is a transparent mental image: You, the physical person as a whole, look right through it. You do not see it. But you see with it.

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Whoever loses the capability for inner silence, loses contact to himself and soon won't be able to think clearly any more.

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