In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Riccardo Manzotti. We discussed his explanation of consciousness, which he terms The Spread Mind. With a background in Electrical Engineering, Robotics, and Computer Science, Dr. Manzotti was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Department of Linguistic and Philosophy, MIT and is currently an Associate Professor in Theoretical Philosophy, IULM University, Milan and a Google Scholar.

We had a great conversation and covered The Spread Mind and mind-object identity, as well as virtual reality and physicalism. Please enjoy this episode with Dr. Riccardo Manzotti.

Your can order his book through Amazon. Also, check out his cartoons!

The Spread Mind by Riccardo Manzotti on

We covered the following questions: 

  1. Please give us an overview of The Spread Mind theory.
    • How did you come up with this theory, what inspired this? Computer scientist
    • Phenomenal experience is a property of the object?
    • Sounds like the Buddhist notion of becoming one with that which you love. Any connection to Buddhism?
    • The mind is larger than the body of the observer?
    • What is the mechanism that connects our brains to this consciousness?
    • Mind-object versus mind-body: Consciousness not connected to neural activity. Please explain the difference (if you haven’t already). 
  2. Virtual reality.
  3. What if you and I are experiencing the consciousness from the same object. Is that “spread object”? Is there any possibility of our personal ‘consciousness’ crossing over, sharing, combining?
  4. If we are the external objects, how can you explain that we may see reality in different ways? How does your theory address the issue of subjectivity and privacy of experience?
  5. If consciousness is not neural, how do changes in the brain end up affecting consciousness? How does your theory connect with neuroscience? What about brain injury, split brain, sleep, altered states, etc.?
  6. Does the apple experience me, the object being me — flipping the frame of reference? Does it work both ways, like gravity?
  7. Is this panpsychism? Illusionism?
  8. You mention that Spread Mind is part of Naturalism: nothing supernatural exists. Is that right? So you are a physicalist? But you claim consciousness is not in the brain and thus that we are not our bodies, how can both things be true?
  9. A very popular alternative theory about consciousness is Tononi’s integrated information theory (IIT) and other computationalist approaches. Why is your theory different? What’s the connection with information?
  10. What are the bigger ramifications of this theory
  11. If this turns out to be true, how can we use this information?
    • Are there spiritual components?
  12. What else are you working on? What’s in your future? 
  13. What big breakthroughs in understanding consciousness do you see coming in the next 10-20 years?