FB 6 Mathematik/Informatik/Physik

Institut für Mathematik

Navigation und Suche der Universität Osnabrück




Consciousness, Science, and the Universe




This course introduces into the work of Philip Goff, Professor of Philosophy at Durham University, who argues for the radical view that consciousness is not only fundamental, but also ubiquitous in the Universe. Goff's view is a contemporary form of panpsychism. Drawing on the work of Bertrand Russell, one of the central figures of early analytic philosophy, Goff argues that science tells us a lot about the structure of things, but it does not tell us anything about the nature of the things that are so structured. This is where consciousness comes into play. Furthermore, Goff believes that his account provides the basis for a solution to the problem of fine tuning - an account of why the natural constants in the Universe are the way they are - that opens up a middle ground between theism and multiverse theory and allows for a form of moral realism. Even though his view is quite radical and difficult to accept, skeptics of the view can still learn a lot from closely investigating Goff's line of reasoning.

Main readings:
- Goff, P. (2019): Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. Rider/Penguin.
- Goff, P. (2023): Why? The Purpose of the Universe. Oxford University Press.

Course assessment:
- Presentation (in groups of 2-3 students) in one of the sessions (10-15 min, not graded, but still required)
- Final term paper (approx. 2500-3500 words) on one of the topics addressed in the course that takes into account at least one of the main readings and 2-3 further sources from the debate. The term paper is due at the end of August 2024.

Weitere Angaben

Ort: 35/E21
Zeiten: Mo. 14:00 - 16:00 (wöchentlich)
Erster Termin: Montag, 08.04.2024 14:00 - 16:00, Ort: 35/E21
Veranstaltungsart: Seminar (Offizielle Lehrveranstaltungen)


  • Cognitive Science > Bachelor-Programm
  • Cognitive Science > Master-Programm
  • Human Sciences (e.g. Cognitive Science, Psychology)