Philosophy of mind group 

Philosophy of mind group

Head of group
Professor Dr. Michael Pauen
Senior researcher
Institute of Philosophy and Berlin School of Mind and Brain, HU Berlin

Personal website

Current position and affiliations
Full professor (2007–2024) at Institute of Philosophy, HU Berlin, currently Senior researcher
Speaker and PI, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, HU Berlin
Speaker and PI, Research Training Group Extrospection 2386, HU Berlin
PI, Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence
Fellow, Max Planck School of Cognition, HU Berlin
PI and former member of Scientific Board, Einstein Center for Neurosciences, Charité

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr. Nima Mussavifard (Institute of Philosophy, Berlin School of Mind and Brain/HU Berlin)

Doctoral researchers

  • Bojana Grujicic (Max Planck School of Cognition & Research Cluster Science of Intelligence, Berlin School of Mind and Brain/HU Berlin)
  • Moritz Dörfler (Max Planck School of Cognition)
  • Ali Yasar (RTG 2386 Extrospection, Berlin School of Mind and Brain/HU Berlin)

Guests and research collaborators

  • Prof. Dr. Patrick Haggard - Visiting Professor in Berlin 2022–2024 (University College London)
  • Prof. Dr. Ali Teymoori (Bergen University, Norway)

Student research assistants (Institute of Philosophy)

  • Sabine Daams
  • Franz Hildebrandt-Harangozó

Postal address

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Professor Dr. Michael Pauen
10099 Berlin

Contacts and visiting address @ Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Luisenstraße 56, Haus 1, 10117 Berlin
North Wing, 2nd floor
Room 305 (Pauen), tel. +49 30 2093-89767
Room 316 (Postdocs), tel. +49 30 2093-89755

Philosophy of Mind at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Many of the core research topics at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain have a strong philosophical background. Philosophers have long been concerned with the relationship between mind and body, and between behavior and mental life. They have also worked extensively on perception, consciousness, the self, free will, and the relationship between language and thought; and they have discussed problems of psychological explanation and moral responsibility.

Philosophy therefore plays an important role in the research program of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. The program provides theoretical frameworks and conceptual tools that help to integrate and focus empirical work. Philosophy also helps to assess the implications of empirical results for the relationship between mind, brain, and behavior. It is therefore essential for empirical research projects to be philosophically informed.

Philosophers at the school are predominantly interested in the philosophy of mind – which addresses questions about the nature of the mental – but also in epistemological and ethical questions related to mind and brain research, as well as in the philosophy of science – which discusses basic problems of scientific research.

The research foci of the Philosophy of Mind Group at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain are:


  •     Explanatory gap problem
  •     Empirical theories of consciousness

Mental Measurement

  •     Epistemology of introspection
  •     Empirical methods of mental measurement
  •     Pain measurement

Free Will

Artificial Intelligence

  •     Concept of Intelligence
  •     Evolution of intelligence, Moravec’s paradox
  •     Models of human cognition

Pauen's project Epistemology of extrospection is part of the DFG research training group RTG 2386 Extrospection, based at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. As there are no absolute standards for epistemic merits, the epistemic disadvantage of extrospection, i.e. third person access to a person’s higher cognitive states, is typically argued for by comparison with introspection or – to a lesser extent – with third-person methods in natural science, most typically physics. E.g. introspection is said to be superior to extrospection because it provides direct first-person access to its objects. Extrospection, by contrast, seems to have limited access only to certain higher cognitive states, particularly to the notorious qualia. Members of that project make a comparative assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of extrospection, introspection, and, to a minor extent, third-person science.

Possible approaches include: (1) A comprehensive discussion of the epistemic merits and limitations of extrospection. Possible issues are the alleged “indirectness” of extrospection or the question whether transferring first-person data like verbal reports into objective models leads to a loss of information, validity and reliability. (2) A comparison of epistemic limitations of extrospection with similar problems of intro-spection and third-person science. One possible question will be whether introspective and third-person scientific knowledge is direct in the sense that extrospection is not. It can also be asked whether it might be complexity rather than the basic epistemic insufficiencies of extrospection that accounts for the problems concerning the description and explanation of higher cognitive phenomena from a third-person point of view.


This page last updated on: 12 July 2024