About CCS


The Center for Consciousness Studies was formed in 1998 with a seed grant from the Fetzer Institute. The Center is a unique institution whose aim is to bring together the perspectives of philosophy, the cognitive sciences, neuroscience, the social sciences, medicine, and the physical sciences, the arts and humanities, to move toward an integrated understanding of human consciousness. The Center is unique in its broad spectrum approach. Other groups tend focus either on cognitive neuroscience, philosophy or purely phenomenal experiential approaches, whereas the Center not only integrates these areas, but "thinks outside the box" of conventional wisdom. The Center has also inspired other groups such as the ASSC and those who organize other conferences.

In addition to organizing the biennial conferences, the Center has engaged in activities such as:

  • Funding original research in Consciousness Studies
  • Establishing a lecture series and interdisciplinary graduate courses at the University of Arizona
  • Developing Summer Institutes, small workshops, and conferences on specific topics
  • Championing consciousness panels at professional meetings
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary communication within and outside the University
  • Creating a Center website with online courses and conferences
  • Hosting bimonthly Consciousness Discussion Forums on campus
  • Collaborating with numerous institutes and centers as sponsors/partners

The Center is well known for hosting 'The Science of Consciousness,’ (‘TSC’) the world's largest and longest-running interdisciplinary conference addressing fundamental questions regarding consciousness, the brain, reality, and existence. The 1994 Tucson conference is widely regarded as a landmark event. The subsequent series of biennial conferences in Tucson and alternate years abroad have attracted extraordinary interest. After being neglected for many years (i.e. during a period of dominance by behaviorism in psychology), interest in the science of consciousness exploded in the last decades, with progress in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and other areas. The University of Arizona has been at the center of these developments. Held in Tucson Arizona in even-numbered years, TSC attracts 700 to 800 neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists, artificial intelligence (AI) proponents, physicists, meditators, altered-state researcher, mystics and interested lay people from all over the world. In odd-numbered years the conference has been held in Italy (twice), Denmark (twice), Japan, Sweden (twice), Czech Republic, Hungary, Hong Kong, India, Finland, San Diego and Switzerland. 

CCS also supports original research on consciousness, not only to understand the origins of consciousness, but to advance therapies for mental and cognitive disorders. An eventual goal of the Center is a graduate level program in Consciousness Studies, both on campus and offered through web-based courses.  Most importantly, The Center for Consciousness Studies is a forum for original thinking on the nature of our existence.

Most importantly, The Center for Consciousness Studies is a forum for original thinking on the nature of our existence.

To learn more or get involved with our mission, please contact us!