Research Topic

Neo-Naturalist Approaches to Consciousness

About this Research Topic

What is consciousness and what is its place in nature? If one is a physicalist, consciousness cannot be anything but a physical phenomenon. However, up to now, the known physical phenomena have not offered any obvious support. Consciousness has resisted physical reduction. Could it be that the obstacle is our insufficient understanding of the nature of physical reality? As Galen Strawson remarked, we must be careful to distinguish between physicalism and physics-alism, the latter being a simplification of the physical world. Might it be that the match between consciousness and physics will require a revision of the notion of physical reality?

This Research Topic will focus on neo-naturalist models of consciousness, which are ontological frameworks that allow consciousness to fit seamlessly within the physical world. Can we revisit our understanding of fundamental aspects of reality - space, time, causality, matter - so that our experience can fit in? Or, conversely, is there any way that the mind-body problem can be solved in existing ontological models? In both cases, the ontological model will have to be both strictly compatible with empirical evidence and avoid ad hoc hypotheses - e.g., postulating that phenomenal character is an additional feature of information. The criterion for a good revision is that it must be of general nature. For instance, general relativity doesn’t apply only in the case of the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, but it is a general revision of space-time that, significantly, admits a solution for the Mercury’s case. Are there any good neo-naturalist models to be discussed?

In this perspective, we welcome original contributions in, but not limited to, the following area topics:
- The Problem of the Observer
- Physicalism and the explanatory gap
- Extended and distributed consciousness
- Perceptual consciousness
- Realism and Consciousness
- Objective object vs. Relative object
- Neutral monism and panpsychism
- Philosophy of perception
- Time and consciousness
- Consciousness and the Laws of Physics
- Physical vs. phenomenal properties
- Quantum Approaches
- Embodied and Extended Perspectives on Conscious Experience
- Scientific Study of Consciousness
- Externalism
- Identity Theories
- Reductionist Models of Consciousness


Keywords: consciousness, perception, internalism, externalism, ontology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

What is consciousness and what is its place in nature? If one is a physicalist, consciousness cannot be anything but a physical phenomenon. However, up to now, the known physical phenomena have not offered any obvious support. Consciousness has resisted physical reduction. Could it be that the obstacle is our insufficient understanding of the nature of physical reality? As Galen Strawson remarked, we must be careful to distinguish between physicalism and physics-alism, the latter being a simplification of the physical world. Might it be that the match between consciousness and physics will require a revision of the notion of physical reality?

This Research Topic will focus on neo-naturalist models of consciousness, which are ontological frameworks that allow consciousness to fit seamlessly within the physical world. Can we revisit our understanding of fundamental aspects of reality - space, time, causality, matter - so that our experience can fit in? Or, conversely, is there any way that the mind-body problem can be solved in existing ontological models? In both cases, the ontological model will have to be both strictly compatible with empirical evidence and avoid ad hoc hypotheses - e.g., postulating that phenomenal character is an additional feature of information. The criterion for a good revision is that it must be of general nature. For instance, general relativity doesn’t apply only in the case of the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, but it is a general revision of space-time that, significantly, admits a solution for the Mercury’s case. Are there any good neo-naturalist models to be discussed?

In this perspective, we welcome original contributions in, but not limited to, the following area topics:
- The Problem of the Observer
- Physicalism and the explanatory gap
- Extended and distributed consciousness
- Perceptual consciousness
- Realism and Consciousness
- Objective object vs. Relative object
- Neutral monism and panpsychism
- Philosophy of perception
- Time and consciousness
- Consciousness and the Laws of Physics
- Physical vs. phenomenal properties
- Quantum Approaches
- Embodied and Extended Perspectives on Conscious Experience
- Scientific Study of Consciousness
- Externalism
- Identity Theories
- Reductionist Models of Consciousness


Keywords: consciousness, perception, internalism, externalism, ontology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 April 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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