Thomas Metzinger Lecture

During a paper given in the department of theology & religious studies at the university of nottingham this week, Ray Brassier (Middlesex) presented a revised version of the first chapter of his recently published Nihil Unbound which relied on Thomas Metzinger’s ‘Phenomenal Self Model’ as it is presented in his Being No One. Although I’m not the least bit familiar with the work of Metzinger, Brassier’s use of his work was extremely fascinating, and quite exciting; the title of Brassier’s paper was ‘Eliminating Selves’, and that is exactly what Metzinger’s work intends to do, arguing that no one ever had or was a self. Ridiculously interesting stuff. I want to read Being No One, but am not sure when I will honestly have the time to read 699 pages, especially considering my lack of background in philosophy of mind and consciousness studies.

So rather than read a massive book, here is a link to a recent lecture by Metzinger dealing with his work: Being No One: Consciousness, The Phenomenal Self, and First-Person Perspective.

Enjoy, and if anyone is aware of accessible (read: fairly brief) secondary literature on Metzinger, let me know.

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6 thoughts on “Thomas Metzinger Lecture

  1. Jason says:

    There’s a paper on Metzinger in the latest issue of Urbanomic’s journal ‘Collapse’ which sounds interesting. It’s also about ‘the elimination of selfhood’, and the whole issue looks fantastic (I’ve just ordered it for 9.99). Brassier writes for that journal too.

  2. mudfall says:

    ray Brassier going head to head with john milbank and the nottingham theologians! wow, that must’ve been something! care to comment on the discussions? who got the better of it?

  3. Alex says:

    I’ll let Mike fill you in on the details, but suffice to say, it got pretty heavy and Brassier held his ground very very well indeed from sustained attack from a number of angles. For example, I asked (tagging along Neil Turnbull’s question) if because this kind of scientific realism could really be a component of a left politics (which Brassier in someway wants it to be) when a) neuro-science and cybernetic research (reconstruction of neuro-scientific structures as he advocated at the end) of the kind he is talking about has walked hand in hand with mainstream neo-liberal economics and b) research programme depend on their usefulness of capitalism to be actually funded, particularly when there is absolutely no access to the neuroscience data without tons of equipment, lots of research money etc. He answered very well, that the defense of science by the Vienna Circle, for example, was to disavow metaphysics as metaphysics was seen as justification for Fascism and capitalism (then again, you don’t have to be pro-science to do this – is this not precisely Lyotard’s move as well) hence there seems to be no natural correlation between science and right-wing (or equally the humanities and left-wing) – later he said that he felt a need to sunder metaphysics from politics more broadly, the Marxist critiques were enough on a common-sense physical level, we don’t need to worry about taking them to a metaphysical register to prove them right. A lot of the discussion involved science as a socially mediated activity which was pretty interesting.

    John Milbank likes his work a great deal though, particularly the turn against Kant, phenomenology and hermeneutics, and will be responding to it more fully in his paper in the Speculative Realism panel in Rome.

  4. mudfall says:

    thanks for this — sounds like a really interesting exchange .. surprised to hear that millbank likes brassier’s work, though. Btw: who’s ‘mike’ (the one who you said would fill me in on the details?). many thanks again

  5. Alex says:

    I dunno if its that suprising Milbank likes his work, other than the fact that Brassier is a self-labelled nihilist – Brassier is conversant with Laurelle, Badiou and Meilliassoux all of whom John has absorbed to one degree or another, particularly Badiou. Mike is the owner of this site.

  6. udibr says:

    You can find a short readable essay on the subject by Metzinger at

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