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On the Nature of Consciousness: A Conversation with Riccardo Manzotti

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California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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A Conversation with Riccardo Manzotti and Matthew Segall

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Both science and philosophy have traditionally conceived of the self as though it were separate from the world. Italian philosopher, psychologist, and AI engineer Riccardo Manzotti asks us to consider consciousness in a radical new way: Our conscious experience is actually one and the same with the external world.

In his Spread Mind Theory, Riccardo asserts that we are the starry sky, the clouds, a rainbow, trees, people, even simple objects such as an apple or a stone. We are not inside our bodies, we are out there, in the world. Perceiving is being.

In this unique conversation, Riccardo offers an exploration of the nature of consciousness and our everyday life through Spread Mind Theory. He discusses how Spread Mind Theory allows us to find our true nature in the very world that surrounds us. He shares insights into the issue of consciousness and the structure of reality, tackling questions such as: What is consciousness? What is the relationship between experience and the physical world? Is there a separation between our experience of the world and the world?

Join CIIS Professor and author Matthew Segall for a conversation with Riccardo that invites you to dive into a radical new way of thinking about consciousness, dreams, illusions, and your physical experience.

Riccardo Manzotti is a philosopher, psychologist, AI expert, and the author of The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One. He is professor of theoretical philosophy at the IULM University (Milan). He has been Fulbright Visiting Scholar at MIT (Boston). He is executive editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness, has published several books and many papers on the topic of consciousness, machine consciousness, perception, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, media, and philosophy of art. His current research focuses on the issue of consciousness and the structure of reality: What is consciousness? Is there a separation between our experience of the world and the world? Does the present have a fixed time span? Can we design and build a conscious machine? What ethical questions do consciousness and technology raise in the 21st century?

Matthew T. Segall, PhD, is assistant professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA where he teaches courses primarily on German Idealism and Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. He is the author of Physics of the World-Soul: Whitehead’s Adventure in Cosmology and has published journal articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics including panpsychist metaphysics, media theory, the philosophy of biology, the evolution of religion, and psychedelics. He blogs regularly at footnotes2plato.com and tweets way more than he should as @ThouArtThat. His current obsessions include the panpsychist turn in contemporary philosophy of mind and its implications for the scientific study of the origins of life and consciousness.

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California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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