An exciting new collection of articles "that document state-of-the-art research on the mind and the brain, consciousness, and the self" has been published on an open access basis at open-mind.net thanks to an initiative by Professor Thomas Metzinger and Dr. Jennifer Windt of Gutenberg University at Mainz. Metzinger is the author of one of the more accessible philosophically-oriented books on the self and consciousness The Ego Tunnel.
The 39 papers in the collection include contributions by world-renowned thinkers such as Daniel Dennett and Alva Noe. The approach has been one of "open commentary", involving 92 separate contributors, with the open commentary being provided by the more junior researchers and replies then offered by the authors of the original pieces.
The background to the project is explained in the press release:
The collection commemorates the 20th meeting of the MIND Group and its more than 10 years of existence. Professor Thomas Metzinger founded the MIND Group in 2003 to provide young German philosophers with a platform that would help them establish contacts in the international research community and participate in the latest developments in contemporary philosophy of mind. An ever-changing group of advanced undergraduate students, doctoral candidates, and young researchers from different countries meets twice a year in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, with celebrity speakers. The meetings usually take place in the guest house of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), which has provided organizational support to the group for several years. The meetings are financially supported by the Barbara Wengeler Foundation in Munich.
"I was looking for an innovative way to sponsor young researchers," says Metzinger, Director of the Theoretical Philosophy Group and the Neuroethics Research Group at Mainz University. Aside from introducing junior members to leading academics, the MIND Group also fosters encounters between scholars working in the fields of analytic philosophy of mind or ethics and researchers conducting empirical research in cognitive neuroscience. In this way, the meetings contribute to the formation of a larger network that pursues new, pioneering theories and cultivates innovative forms of interdisciplinarity.
The open commentary model is well within the capability of the Alexander Studies Online platform and this venture at Mainz provides some useful pointers as to how such collaborative approaches can be implemented.
In the context of Alexander's enthusiasm for the "open mind" as expressed in Man's Supreme Inheritance, Metzinger and Windt's introductory pieces are well worth reading as a source of inspiration for those of us engaged with ASO: their contributions, entitled "About this collection: Introduction to the Open MIND Project" and "What does it mean to have an open mind?", are downloadable from here (384kb PDF file).