“I enjoy finding out the very specific relationship between how we represent the world and what the brain is doing”.
Dr Glenn Carruthers
Regularily we see members of our clan and family achieve academic degrees with great pride, many going on to greater things. We therefore feel it more than appropriate to celebrate both our past and our present. Today we have great pleasure in highlighting the achievements of one of our own family from down under, Dr Glenn Carruthers PhD, a man of obvious talent in his field.
On July the 11th, Glenn, although previously published in top peer reviewed scentific journals such as the Australian Journal of Pholosophy, Theory and Psychology and the Journal of Consciousness Studies to name but a few, launched his first book published by Palgrave Macmillian; The feeling of embodiment: A case study in explaining consciousness).
He has described his book as exciting and went on to say in a newspaper interview; “I do think that what has been exciting for me about this project has been that I have found a way to link together some ideas that were initially thought to be contradictory. “As humans we are still searching. “I enjoy finding out the very specific relationship between how we represent the world and what the brain is doing. “I think we are always going to be searching, more generally, but also with some of these more specific ideas in mind.” He says the point of philosophy is simple: it makes us smarter. “There is clear evidence that we, as humans, are making progress,” he says.”What this kind of work does is asks questions about what we are and how we fit into the world. “This is a measure of our progress through the 21st century.”
The book is available in both hard copy and an e-book and for those with an interest in the same, well worth the read..
Glenn and his work
Glenn Carruthers is a researcher and lecturer in the School of Psychology at the Port Maquarie campus of Charles Sturt University. Charles Sturt is an Australian multi-campus public university located in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory. It is ranked in the top 1000 Universities in the world and is listed as having around 45,000 students in its programmes. Its mantra embodies a phrase in Wiradjuri; Yindyamarra Winhanganha, which means ‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’.
This leads us nicely on to Glenn’s field of expertise as a Cognitive Scientist and Theoretical Psychologist. His work has focussed primarily on the nature of consciousness. Consciousness is central to the nature of human existence, to understand it is to go a long way to understanding what we are and how we fit into the natural world. His book develops a theory of consciousness from an examination of bodily consciousness, specifically looking at how we are able to tell ourselves apart from the rest of the world. He uses evidence from diverse sources such as cases of brain damage, illusory experiences of touch, as well as work in vision science to develop and test the ‘hybrid theory of consciousness.’ I seems he is not that good at coming up with names for theories.
His research focus to date has therefore been on the naturalistic approache/s to the study of consciousness where his main aim has been to provide explanations of particular experiences of the self (such as the experience of one’s own agency) as case studies in consciousness itself.
In addition to this, his current projects include investigating the crime of filicide (deliberate act of a parent killing their own child), sexism in stereotypes of parenting (with colleagues Neha Khetrapal and Nic Badcok), attempts to naturalise phenomenological approaches to self-consciousness (with his colleague Kristina Musholt) and the theories of consciousness (with Dr Elizabeth Schier, his wife).
From the early years to his present role.
His interest in the mind and his conscious surroundings began at an early age it seems. According to a newspaper interview he gave, he vividly remembers his first conscious thought.
Glenn at was out the front of his home watching his father drive the family car into the driveway. “I could see the wheels turning on the car and that was my first recognition of cause and effect,” he said. “The wheels were spinning and that was pushing the car forward. “I was probably about four years of age. “That realisation drove me toward the idea of asking why things happen the way they do.” That pursuit and level of questioning saw Glenn study physics and math at school before studying philosophy at Adelaide University.
Glenn holds a BA(Hons) in philosophy from Adelaide University and a PhD (Cognitive Science) from Macquarie University. Not content with that and after graduating he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at The Berlin School of Mind and Brian at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
The Berlin School of Mind and Brain was established in 2006 and offers a two-year Master’s degree and a comprehensive three-year doctoral program. The interdisciplinary research, education, and training takes place in English, and the focus is on the interface between the humanities and behavioral sciences with the neurosciences. We are a graduate institution of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in collaboration with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The school is the first-prize winner of the “Einstein Doctoral Programme 2017–2019” competition.
Thet work on the premise of higher cognitive functions – such as decision-making and free will, consciousness and perception, and our human sociality – are among the most distinctive and most complex human abilities, yet they are still comparatively poorly understood. Recent progress in neuroscientific methods has brought some of these problems to the fore of neuroscientific research and empirically informed philosophy.
On finishing his work in Germany he returned to Australia for a research fellowship at the Centre for Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, and finally a lectureship in psychology at Charles Sturt University.
Before taking up his current role as lecturer in psychology at Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie Glenn completed his PhD. He also studied for 18 months at the School of Mind and Brain in Berlin.
Dr Carruthers is the son of Robert and Linda Carruthers, brother of Ellen, and father of Zac. His Carruthers ancestors came to Victoria, Australia from Scotland, in 1840 and have descendants across Victoria, NSW, and South Australia. Other family origins include the Edwards of England and Wales, the Wiers (from country Victoria, by way of Tasmania and Scotland) and people of the Pyemmairrenerpairrener nation who are the indiginous peoples of modern North Eastern Tasmania. He married Dr Elizabeth Schier in 2006 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Adelaide, South Australia.
Elizabeth is also a cognitive scientist who works at the interface of Psychology and Philosophy. Since receiving her PhD in 2007 she has had a range of research and teaching positions at Macquarie University, Open University Australia, the University of New South Wales and most recently Charles Sturt University, where she has been involved in teaching for the Department of Psychology and tutoring in Psychology and Philosophy for the Indigenous Academic Success Program. Since 2014 she has worked as a researcher for the Australian Neurolaw Database.
Glenn is an amateur football and futsal player and manager, he has won a few minor competitions and is a foundation member of the Western Sydney Wanderers. In an effort to stop growing old he has an unhealthy attachment to Star Wars and Dr Who.
Thank you Glenn for representing Carruthers everywhere in this important field of work.