In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Berit Brogaard. We discussed science and consciousness, brain waves and neural correlates of consciousness, and her work with synesthesia and savant syndrome. Dr. Berit “Brit” Brogaard is a Professor of Philosophy and the Director of the Brogaard Lab at the University of Miami. Her areas of research include philosophy of perception, philosophy of emotions, and philosophy of language. She is the author of several books, including Transient Truths and The Superhuman Mind.

Dr Berit Brogaard

We had a great conversation and covered topics ranging from philosophy to hard science, all in the context of mind-brain duality. Please enjoy this episode with Dr. Berit Brogaard.

Questions we explored: 

  1. You come at this with a varied background – from philosophy to neuroscience. Maybe we can start with your overview of what consciousness is and how it works. I saw part of your interview with Deepak Chopra and you touched on panpsychism. Is that part of your view (definition of) on consciousness?
    1. What makes you think Science WILL explain it?
    2. What about dualism? Physicalism?
    3. Survival after physical death?
    4. Uploading consciousness?
  2. Neural Correlates of Consciousness/Brain Waves:
    1. What’s happening in our brain when we have thoughts and/or phenomenal experiences? 
    2. How do these relate to brain waves? Delta, Alpha, Beta, Theta, Gamma, etc. Maybe first tell us what those brain waves are?
      1. Altered states of consciousness, meditation?
    3. How do these brain waves affect neurons? Microtubules?
  3. How does this relate to phenomenal consciousness? Can you correlate brain activity with ‘something it is like’-ness?
  4. Are you able to separate (mathematical) components of these brain waves in such a way that you can observe ‘consciousness’?
    1. Does this relate to memory and schema — groups of neurons firing together to form a memory?
  5. I think about Giulio Tanoni’s Integrated Information Theory (IIT) research when we discuss brain waves. What are your thoughts on their work with IIT and brain waves? Christof Koch mentioned in our interview that they might be able to measure the consciousness of a stone one day. Thoughts on that?
  6. What has your work shown you about mind-brain duality (or alternately, physicalism)?
    1. You believe that science will be able to explain consciousness? How/why?
  7. What have you observed in your laboratories regarding consciousness and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)?
  8. You study Synesthesia and savant syndrome, among other things. What has that taught you about consciousness?
    1. What is happening in the brain with a synesthete?
    2. Does this provide insight into the neural correlates of consciousness?
  9. Anything else you’d like to share, anything that I missed?
  10. What will you be working on in the near future?
  11. Do you see any breakthroughs coming in our understanding of phenomenal consciousness?

In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Elizabeth Schechter, who is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology in the Department of Philosophy and in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program at the Washington University in St. Louis. Her work centers on questions of psychological unity, with a focus on split-brain, which you can find in her book, Self-Consciousness and “Split” Brains: The Minds’ I.

We had a great conversation and covered consciousness, split-brains and the mind-body problem, and more. Please enjoy this episode with Dr. Elizabeth Schechter.


  1. What is Psychological unity? Unity of Consciousness?
  2. Let’s get a baseline to work from here. How do you define consciousness? What IS consciousness? Mind v. Person.
    1. Duality? Physicalism? Etc.
    2. What is the relationship of a person to their mind/brain?
  3. Split Brains:
    1. Please give us a little background on what ‘split brain’ is.
    2. How does this play into your views on ‘unity’ of consciousness and psychology?
    3. Does this result in two, independent consciousnesses? (2-person claim)
    4. Perspectives versus Agents versus Thinkers? What are the differences there, and how do those differences play into understanding consciousness?
    5. In a split brain, parts of the brain are still integrated, or synchronized, right? Like vision? What else? [two separate human beings sitting next to each other would also be getting the same inputs, right?]
      1. How does that play into all of this?
    6. I’m curious about the implications of split brain and mind-brain duality. What, if any, observations have been made with split-brain patients that might shed light on that and the binding problem?
      1. Is the single ‘mind’ still bound to both sides of a split brain?
      2. Ego?
    7. Can (does) one side of the brain ask, “Something it is like to be the other side of my brain?”
      1. “I think, therefore I am” and other tests of individuality and consciousness? Have those been done, experimentally?
      2. The mirror test (animals) on a split brain subject?
    8. We can cut the connection (corpus callosum) between the two hemispheres. Can we introduce a third (artificial) ‘hemisphere’?
  4. What is a consciousness versus a person: conjoined twins, DID, split brain?
  5. What are you currently working on? What can we expect from you in the near future?
  6. In the field of consciousness (or other areas), what studies or potential breakthroughs excite you?
  7. Anything else you’d like to share?