I am a philosopher and consciousness researcher at Durham University, UK. My research focuses on how to integrate consciousness into our scientific worldview. I also spend too much arguing on twitter.
I argue that the traditional approaches of materialism (consciousness can be explained in terms of physical processes in the brain) and dualism (consciousness is separate from the body and brain) face insuperable difficulties. On the basis of this I defend a form of panpsychism, the view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world. It sounds a bit crazy, but I try to show that it avoids the difficulties faced by its rivals.
Probably the best way to get acquainted with my "big picture" is to read this interview in Scientific American, and then maybe listen to some of the podcasts in the audio section of this site, read some of my popular articles, or watch some of the videos.
My first academic book, Consciousness and Fundamental Reality (Oxford University Press), was published in 2017 and my first book aimed at a general audience, Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, was published in 2019 and is available from Amazon Amazon UK Barnes and Noble IndieBound Apple Books.
Is Consciousness Everywhere? Essays on Panpsychism is a collection of essays by scientists and philosophers published in Journal of Consciousness Studies. Contributors include Carlo Rovelli, Sean Carroll, Lee Smolin, Annaka Harris, Christof Koch, and Anil Seth. Many of the essays can be found can be found on this blog post. Is Consciousness Everywhere? will be published as a book in late 2022.
I am currently working on a new book exploring the middle ground between God and atheism.
Together with a philosophy professor with the polar opposite view to me, I interview scientists and philosophers of consciousness on Mind Chat.
Religion and Politics
I also write about religion and politics. In terms of religion, I identify as a 'practicing agnostic': I don't know if Christianity is true (it was a long time ago!), but by engaging with it as a possibility, I connect to my community and to something beyond myself. In terms of politics, I'm a vigorous opponent of neo-liberalism and a huge fan of taxation.
I used to sing in a band in my teens and twenties, and we still gig occasionally.
Here's my CV.