Integrating Alongside Arbitrating: A complementary approach to accelerating research on consciousness studies
TWCF Number
Project Duration
October 1 / 2023
- September 30 / 2024
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
North America
Amount Awarded

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Aaron Schurger
Institution Chapman University

Instead of arbitrating between different theories of consciousness in an attempt to exclude some of them, a project led by Aaron Schurger at Chapman University’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Brain and Behavioral Sciences aims to narrow the space between theoretical constructs by integrating ideas that theories have in common. The goal is to unify specific aspects of existing theories, while also excluding other aspects and/or theories that are less constructive in the attempt to explain consciousness. This could help the field make the greatly needed leap into an agreed-upon account for consciousness, not based on one theory or another, but rather on an integration of several theories.

The project team plans to organize a kick-off in-person workshop (4-5 full days) where the team can focus on conceptual analysis of the theories, in search of ways to integrate them. This meeting will then be followed by offline work and monthly convenes, to which the team intends to invite theory leaders to discuss some of the team’s ideas for integration. The end goal is to write a joint, high-impact paper where the team will present this unified framework. If successful, this endeavor will leave a substantial mark on the field, hopefully moving us forward from working on multiple competing theories, to sharing some common grounds that serve as foundations for making progress.

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