"Ask not what science can do for consciousness but what consciousness can do for science"


Àlex Gómez-Marín (Barcelona, 1981) has traversed an impressive and eclectic path from fundamental physics to the forefront of behavioral and cognitive neurosciences. Holding a PhD in theoretical physics and a Masters in biophysics from the University of Barcelona, his career is marked by significant contributions as a research fellow to institutions such as the EMBL-CRG Centre for Genomic Regulation and Lisbon's Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown. Currently leading the Behavior of Organisms Laboratory at the Instituto de Neurociencias in Alicante and serving as an Associate Professor for the Spanish Research Council, Àlex's work epitomizes interdisciplinary boldness.

Àlex's work encompasses the microscopic origins of the arrow of time, computational neuro-ethologgy across different animal species, and artificial intelligence used to better understand human stupidity. His current research focuses on the scientific study of consciousness in the real world. In his recent publication, The Consciousness of Neuroscience, he advocates for a more subtle and honest approach to the study of consciousness, blending empirical research with philosophical inquiry. Reflecting on current adversarial collaborations, Àlex challenges the scientific community to broaden its methodologies and perspectives. This stance not only underscores his leadership in neuroscientific research but also his dedication to exploring the profound complexities of the human mind and, in particular, what he calls "the edges of consciousness".

As director of the Pari Center, Àlex seeks to enact a kind of intellectual activism that brings a third leg to the "science stool": apart from solid replicable data and deep imaginative theories, he sees the need to nurture the socio-political milieu that makes science possible (or impossible), bringing together leading thinkers and laypeople in a context that relaxes the self-suffocating constraints of current academe, unapologetically integrating the sciences, the arts, and the sacred.

Alex has recently received some notable mentions, including being #68 on the list of OOOM Magazine's 100 World's Most Inspiring People. His research proposal "Seeing without Eyes", won the first Linda G. O'Bryant Noetic Sciences Research Prize.

The Future Human – Pari Center Talks

What will the future look like? How will the Future Human live? How will families, child rearing, education, health services, work, art, religion, love, science, language, storytelling change?

The Future Scientist – Pari Center Talks

It is not unlikely that sooner than we think current science will be unrecognizable to most of us. The consequences for humanity writ large, not just for scientists themselves, are pressing.

6 Talks with Dr Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert and Alex explore the scientific enterprise's challenges, reevaluate science beyond mere data, and consider sociological and historical contexts that shape knowledge politics.

29 Talks with Dr Iain McGilchrist

A chapter by chapter discussion of Iain's book The Matter with Things exploring profound questions about human identity, the nature of the world, and the interplay between science and intuition.

Articles and Papers

PDF cover

Materialism's Terminal Lucidity: A review of Nicholas Humphrey's "Sentience"

Àlex Gómez-Marín
Journal of Consciousness Studies 31(1-2): 242-252 (2024)

A review of Nicholas Humphrey's "Sentience: The Invention of Consciousness," exploring the evolution of consciousness as a survival mechanism. Humphrey argues that sentience enhances life quality by creating a cognitive workspace for narrative self-awareness, based on empirical research and philosophical insights. The discussion extends to the phenomenon of blindsight, distinguishing between sensation and perception, underscoring consciousness's role in natural selection.

PDF cover

The Consciousness of Neuroscience

Àlex Gómez-Marín
eNeuro 10(11):1-5 (2023)
doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0434-23.2023

A critique of the current state of consciousness research, emphasizing the importance of moving beyond empirical data to include philosophical and theoretical frameworks. Gómez-Marín advocates for adversarial collaborations as a means to test and refine theories, challenging the scientific community to rethink its methodologies and biases.

PDF cover

What Happens With the Mind When the Brain Dies?

Àlex Gómez-Marín
Organisms: Journal of Biological Sciences, 6(1): 51-53 (2023)
doi: 10.13133/2532-5876/17861

Abstract: A neuroscientist reflects on his near-death experience to ponder the nature of the human mind and the survival of consciousness after death. Ancient traditions, manifold personal experiences, nuanced philosophical views, and recent scientific evidence, all point to the brain as a filter (or receiver) of consciousness rather than its fanciful producer. No doubt, good-old-fashioned materialists —nowadays rebranded as physicalists, crypto-dualists, or illusionists wearing virtual reality goggles— insist that minds are “nothing but” what brains do. Nevertheless, a trans-materialist science can expand the scope and depth of the answers (and the questions) that really matter not only to science but also to human flourishing.

PDF cover

Materialists' Best Guess? A Review of Anil Seth's "Being You"

Àlex Gómez-Marín
Journal of Consciousness Studies 29(5-6): 201-207 (2022)

A review of Anil Seth's book "Being You: A New Science of Consciousness," which explores the scientific study of consciousness. Gomez-Marin appreciates Seth's engaging narrative and the book's aim to demystify consciousness by proposing that our brains generate a controlled hallucination of reality. However, he challenges Seth's materialistic approach, arguing it oversimplifies the complexity of consciousness. The review advocates for a broader exploration beyond physicalist constraints, emphasizing the importance of addressing foundational questions about the nature of conscious experience.

PDF cover

Metaphors Neuroscientists Live By

Àlex Gómez-Marín
Frontiers in Computer Science, 4:890531 (2022)
doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2022.890531

Four decades ago, linguists and philosophers George Lakoff and Mark Johnson published an influential book on the nature of metaphors. In Metaphors We Live By they argued that abstract thought is mostly metaphorical (having a literal core extended by mutually inconsistent metaphors and therefore incomplete without them), that metaphors are fundamentally conceptual (while metaphorical language is secondary), and that metaphorical thought is ubiquitous, unavoidable, largely unconscious, and grounded in everyday life. Despite the popular acclaim of the book and its impact across academic disciplines, their claims met resistance as they challenged objectivist views of meaning and language.

PDF cover

Promisomics and the Short-Circuiting of Mind

Àlex Gómez-Marín
eNeuro, 8(2):1-5 (2021)
doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0521-20.2021

Abstract: Grand neuroscience projects, such as connectomics, have a recurrent tendency to overpromise and underdeliver. Here I critically assess what is done in contrast with what is claimed about such endeavors, especially when the results are “horizontal” and the conclusions “vertical”, namely, when maps of one level (synaptic connections) are conflated with mappings between levels (neural function, animal behavior, cognitive processes). I argue that to suggest that connectomics will give us the mind of a mouse, a human or even a fly is conceptually flawed. Even if we, neuroscientists, do not take our metaphors literally, we should take them seriously.

PDF cover

The Luminous Shadow of Materialism

Àlex Gómez-Marín
Atas do Congresso Internacional Comunicação e Luz, (pp. 118-128). Braga: CECS (2016)

Abstract: The so often criticized shadow of materialism, when reflected upon with an integral perspective, reveals itself as a hidden potential seeking emergence. However, such a condition for human progress can be grasped provided we are willing to lessen the tension between the two-fold excess of pride and complaint so characteristic of the illusory attachments of enlightenment and romanticism. An appreciation of the power dormant in the dark pool of light of materialism becomes particularly relevant in the context of the current international year of light.

More scientific papers on Google Scholar

Who's Who in Postmaterialist Science

We gratefully acknowledge the following people for their contributions. Through their research, teaching, writing and speaking we have all benefited. We include important papers, articles, books and videos for many. Some are manifesto signatories; otherwise they are unassociated with this website.