The many‐worlds theory of consciousness

Noûs 57 (2):316-340 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper sketches a new and somewhat heterodox metaphysical theory of consciousness: the “many-worlds theory”. It drops the assumption that all conscious subjects’ experiences are features of one and the same world and instead associates different subjects with different “first-personally centred worlds”. We can think of these as distinct “first-personal realizers” of a shared “third-personal world”, where the latter is supervenient, in a sense to be explained. This is combined with a form of modal realism, according to which different subjects’ first-personally centred worlds are all real, though only one of them is present for each subject. The theory offers a novel way of capturing the irreducibly subjective nature of conscious experience without lapsing into solipsism. The paper also looks at some scientific theories of consciousness, such as integrated information theory, through the proposed lens and reconsiders the hard problem of consciousness.

Author's Profile

Christian List
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München


Added to PP

1,468 (#6,002)

6 months
358 (#4,023)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?