Passionate about Consciousness

Philip Goff is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Central European University in Budapest. HIs main research focus is trying to explain how the brain produces consciousness. In this exclusive interview he discusses how we need to radically rethink our understanding of matter in order to explain consciousness, in something like the way Einstein radically rethought the nature of space and time

Philip Goff

Philip Goff

Richard Bright: Can we begin by talking about your background? What made you take up philosophy, and also your particular interest in consciousness?

Philip Goff: I’ve always been obsessed with philosophical questions for as long as I can remember. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I used to think I wanted to be a physicist because I was obsessed by time and space and black holes. But, I think as I got older, I realised that the kind of questions I’m interested in are more general and abstract than the kind of questions scientists deal with. I’m really fascinated by how different things we believe in fit together, how what we know about the world scientifically fits together with what we know about consciousness, or what we know about value or meaning; how everything we believe in fits together or hopefully fits together in one unified picture of the world. That’s what I’m really interested in, that’s my primary philosophical drive, to try and fit those kinds of things together. As John Searle put it, ‘Try and see how everything hangs together.’

RB: Do we need to radically rethink our understanding of matter in order to understand, or explain consciousness?


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