Our Approach

We aspire to connect early-career researchers who are passionate about consciousness science, and provide a space for discussion and reflection in which they can explore this fascinating research field under the gentle Mediterranean sun.

There is very little exchange between different models of consciousness (also referred to as theories, paradigms, or approaches). Although the supporters of these models usually do not explicitly deny the relevance of other approaches, they do not get involved in constructive discussions either. We believe that models of consciousness could enrich each other if their supporters took the time to understand what separates them, and what they are useful for.

The consequence of this lack of dialogue is that early career researchers encounter difficulties to grasp the full diversity of philosophical and empirical work in this blooming research field. We speak from our own experiences. We have therefore envisioned this seminar as a grassroots movement—a seminar organized by and made for early career researchers in consciousness science to fill the gaps between theories in a friendly, supportive, and constructive environment.

"The proliferation of competing articulations, the willingness to try anything, the expression of explicit discontent, the recourse to philosophy and to debate over fundamentals, all these are symptoms of a transition from normal to extraordinary research. It is upon their existence more than upon that of revolutions that the notion of normal science depends."

Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Events

"We have the power to analyse and explore the world. Yet, we panic when data threaten to contradict our expectations."

Frans de Waal

Our goal is to bring together early-career researchers from different backgrounds for a week of stimulating discussion and intellectual exchange in an idyllic setting far away from the busy everyday reality. We believe that this relaxed setting is the perfect environment for friendly and constructive exchange between people who would otherwise rarely exchange their scientific and philosophical views. To facilitate these in-depth exchanges, up to 20 participants are selected for each event.

The MESEC foundation organizes two types of events, and we generally welcome participants in the early stages of their careers (M.Sc/M.Phil, Ph.D., post-doc) regardless of their preference (or a lack of preference) for a particular approach in consciousness science.

The first event was organized in early September 2021 and will reoccur in the upcoming years under the name MESEC Workshop. This event is aimed at researchers with some previous experience in the field (usually starting from the pre-doctoral phase), and its main goal is to provide minimal structure for discussions proposed and motivated by participants. The second event is MESEC Winter School, which will debut in Fall 2022. This event offers more structure around lectures and practical tutorials, and it aims to bring cutting-edge tools for the study of consciousness to early-career researchers.

In all MESEC events, the emphasis is on informal exchanges, creating the space in which we can get to know each other beyond superficial conference “networking”, and nurturing long-lasting constructive scientific collaborations.

Lastly, as Erwin Schrödinger remarked, "If you can't explain to anyone what you've done, it will be useless". Therefore, we also aim to popularize the on-site discussions through collaboration with experienced YouTube science channels, and creating outreach educational content for a broader audience.

Practical Information

Two events will take place in 2022: MESEC Workshop in Corsica (September) and MESEC Winter School in Egypt (November).

We generally welcome participants in early stages of their careers (MSc/MPhil, PhD, post-doc) regardless of their background and preference (or a lack of preference) for a particular approach in consciousness science.

Upcoming:

2022 Seminar
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