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Theories of Consciousness in a Structural Turn
With Johannes Kleiner
Saturday February 24, 2024
9:00am PST | 12:00pm EST | 5:00pm GMT | 6:00pm CET
The session is live and you will be sent the RECORDING.
Recent activities in virtually all fields engaged in consciousness studies indicate early signs of a structural turn, where verbal descriptions or simple formalizations of conscious experiences are replaced by structural tools, most notably mathematical spaces and mathematical structures. This might, on my view, lead to a novel phase in consciousness science that fundamentally changes how we engage in, theorize about, and empirically investigate conscious experiences. My goal in this talk is to introduce the audience to these developments and to paint a picture of how we might expect consciousness science to change if the turn indeed happens, both in terms of scientific achievements and real-world consequences. As part of this picture, we will explore the fundamental question of what it means to represent consciousness mathematically, and discuss the structural claims of two major theories of consciousness.
Johannes Kleiner is a physicist and mathematician who works on mathematical topics in consciousness science. In 2017, he completed a PhD in mathematics at the University of Regensburg, awarded summa cum laude, subsequent to which he was a postdoc at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of Leibniz University of Hanover. In 2020, he decided to pursue a second PhD at the LMU Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy and the LMU Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, devoted to what is now called Mathematical Consciousness Science. Since 2023, he is also a postdoc at the Institute for Psychology of the University of Bamberg, and a visiting scholar at the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness. Johannes has been a visiting scholar at the Department of Computer Science of Oxford University, the Harvard Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications, and the Centre de Physique Théorique of Aix-Marseille Université, and from September 2022 to September 2023, was an academic visitor at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University. He currently serves on the board of the Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science. https://jkleiner.de/