Riccardo Manzotti's Home Page

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Home Scholar
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Email: riccardo.manzotti@gmail.com

My research focuses on
the physical underpinnings of consciousness and on
what consciousness tells us about the nature of the physical world.

Look at the universe,
and you'll see yourself

More quotations here

Currently, I am assistant professor of Psychology at the IULM University (Milan).

As of 15 September and until 1 July I will be at the MIT, Dept of Linguistic and Philosophy as a Fulbright Scholar working on "A radical externalist view of consciousness".

My recent talk at the Dept.
Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts (LPA), University of Michigan, Dearborn, MP3

A small program to play generating color illusions here.

A recent talk at Palazzo Greppi (Milan, 2013), in Italian, on "Lo spazio politico della bellezza".

A recent talk at the Cagliari University (Cagliari, 2013), in Italia, on machine consciousness.

These are two recent articles on the Spread Mind:
  - Tim Parks' article on the New York Review of Books Blog
  - ContraInfo's article in Spanish on the Spread Mind (la Conciencia Esparcida).

A talk (in Italian) I gave at the University of Cagliari on Machine Consciousness (pictures, audio (68 Mb)).

A recent overview of my view (in Italian) as part of a talk I gave in Trento (2012)
- Ontologia della mente cosciente (audio, 58 Mb)
- Ontologia della mente cosciente (video, 200 Mb)

This is my tutorial on machine consciousness at SMC2012, Seoul, October 2012

- Machine Consciousness A
- Machine Consciousness B

Here you can find a talk (2011) I gave in Jerusalem at the PsychoOntology Conference in Jerusalem on the "Physical foundations of the conscious mind"

This is a new interview on the Spread Mind in three parts I gave in Munich in 2011: Spread Mind A, Spread Mind B, Spread Mind C

The podcast (MP3, 32 Mb) of my Tucson 2010 talk about the spread mind.

I have been working to the BICAIK, a bilateral Italian-Korean project aiming at designing and implementing conscious agents (BICAIK).

A few videos with some lectures on various topics are available here

- Shangai Lecture 2010
- Internalism vs. Externalism 2010
- Varieties of Externalism 2010
- The Spread Mind 2010
- Madrid Lecture on relational ontology 2008

A few cartoons on my standpoint are available here.

Since 2008 I've been teaching two courses each year:
- Neuroscienze della cognizione e della percezione at the University of Genova
- Psicologia della Percezione Artistica at the IULM University.

I am contributing with a journal on philosophy of Mind, AI, robotics, cognitive science:
The International Journal of Machine Consciousness.

In 2009, I chaired an ESF Exploratory Workhop on Neuroesthetics.

On the scientific side, I published some new papers and chapters on the externalist view of consciousness I am developing since 2001.

During 2008, among the other things, I attended to a Workshop on Machine Consciousness at Nokia; I've been invited to give a talk at the Winter APA Meeting in Philadelphia. In Italy I had the pleasure to participate to the Infinita...mente Festival in Verona.

In 2008 I co-authored with Vincenzo Tagliasco the book "L'esperienza. Perché i neuroni non spiegano tutto" (The experience. Why neurons do not explain everything). As you can imagine, we look for an explanation of consciousness which goes beyond the sometime limited scope of neuroscience.

During 2007, I co-chaired a symposium on the relation between consciousness and artificial intelligence at the AAAI Fall Symposia, Washington DC. Together with Antonio Chella, I am one of the editors of the book Artificial Consciousness (Imprint Academic, 2007).

In 2006, I published two papers on Journal of Consciousness Studies and on Mind and Matter. They both presents a new view on consciousness from two slightly different perspectives.

In 2005 I coorganized the International Workshop on Artificial Consciousness held in Agrigento. In the same year, I've been co-editor of a special Networks issue on consciousness. I also took part to the TSC2005 Copenhagen where a special special plenary session was devoted to externalism (Ted Honderich, Francois Tonneau and myself were the key speaker). If you want to know more click here.

Here you can find an interview of mine on the website of the Hybrid organization.

If you want to see a few pictures of mine, as well as a few personal details you can click here. And some old drawings of mine too.

2014 events

2013 events

Previous event

My main reasearch topice is the understanding the nature of consciousness. To do so, I believe that we need to change our fundamental categories. The road I envisage passes through the technological land of robotics as well as the misty shadows of theoretical philosophical analysis. We hope I won't get lost along the journey. There is no more important quest than consciousness. For the conscious mind is the point of the universe where knowledge and being are one and the same.

In order to to understand consciousness, we need to understand reality. To understand reality we need two steps: hypotheses and empirical verifications. The scientific tradition narrowed the field of empirical evidence at only the objective facts. In order to understand what consciousness is, a new ontological standpoint is needed and, in order to verify such ontological premises a new kind of experiments must be envisaged.

To verify a theory of consciousness, empirical experiments are needed. Two possibilities are feasible. The first one is interfering with the conscious subjective experience of human beings. To design an experiment in which it is possible to predict and describe in advance a change in content in a subject's experience. The second option is to build an artificial being with a structure that can be related with the development of a true subject. This second approach is followed by implementing an architecture coherent with the new ontology.

Strawberries, Neurons and Red
A page that summarizes my skepticism about any neurosceintific theory of consciousness ...


World visitors ...


If you want to hear and see one of my presentation of the theory of consciousness I've been working on for the last ten years you can download a podcast from here (it is the presentation I gave at the AAAI Fall Symposium on Consciousness and AI, Washington DC, 12 November 2007):

-    MP3 format (audio only, good for IPods)
-    M4P format (video and audio, relatively small, good for new IPods, 124 Mb)
-    MPG format (video, rather big file, PCs and everyone else, 335 Mb)

Riccardo Manzotti
Milan, June 2013


My books

  Manzotti R., (ed.) Situated Aesthetics. Art beyond the skin. Exeter (UK), Imprint Academic, 2011
To know more click here.
Amy Jone's review on Leonardo
Anna Li Vigni's review on Il Sole 24 Ore (18/9/2011) (in Italiano)
Manzotti R., Tagliasco, V. L'esperienza. Perché i neuroni non spiegano tutto. Codice edizioni. Milano, 2008
Per saperne di più clicca qui.
Per la versione ebook clicca qui.
Manzotti R., Chella A. (a cura di), Artificial Consciousness, Exeter (UK), Imprint Academic, 2007
- To know more click here
- A review
Manzotti R. Psicologia della percezione artistica. Milano, Arcipelago, 2006

Villamira M, Manzotti R, Comunicazione e sistemi. Milano, Franco Angeli, 2004.
Questo volume ha per oggetto i sistemi e le interazioni tra sistemi nell'ottica delle scienze della complessità e affronta alcuni dei principali argomenti che, in area psicologica, rappresentano le punte avanzate della ricerca in merito ai temi richiamati nel titolo. Oltre che agli studenti e agli studiosi di discipline psicologiche, il presente volume si rivolge a tutte le persone di buona cultura che desiderano un aggiornamento sui temi della comunicazione e della complessità.
Per saperne di più clicca qui.


Manzotti R., Tagliasco V. Coscienza e realtà. Bologna, Il Mulino, 2001.
Come può il nostro cervello, un oggetto fisico, rappresentare il mondo esterno? Per fornire una risposta adeguata è necessario riconsiderare le categorie fondamentali con le quali interpretiamo la realtà. La comprensione della coscienza non è semplicemente qualcosa da aggiungere a quanto già conosciamo, ma qualcosa che richiede la revisione dei fondamenti della nostra concezione del mondo. La coscienza è l'estrema frontiera, la chiave di volta inevitabile, in cui l'intreccio fra il nostro io e la realtà che ci circonda trova soluzione.
- Per saperne di più clicca qui.
- Per scaricare il primo capitolo clicca qui. (To download the first chapter, click here)


Manzotti R. Intentional Robots. Genova, Lira-lab, 2000
My PhD thesis. In this thesis I develop a theory of the mind, which is called the Theory of The Enlarged Mind (TEM for short). Such a theory suggests to consider intentionality as the foundation of reality and to derive from it all other aspects (existence, representation, and being in relation with). The elementary principle of such a theory is called onphene.
- For a short introduction on TEM, click here.
- To download the thesis, click here