Advisory Board

Professor Owen Flanagan Jr.

Owen Flanagan, Jr., Ph.D. is the James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University. He also holds appointments in Psychology and Neurobiology and is a Faculty Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience. He is currently on the Editorial Board of Greater Good Magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley. His contributions include the interpretation of scientific research into the roots of compassion, altruism, and peaceful human relationships. He is also an active member of the Center for Pragmatic Buddhism’s (CPB) Advisory Board.
Owen has written extensively on consciousness. He has been realistic about the difficulty of consciousness as a scientific and philosophical problem, but optimistic about the chance of solving the problem. One of the problems in a study of consciousness is the hidden way in which conscious states are dependent on brain states. He has proposed that there is a “natural method” to go about understanding consciousness that involves creating a science of mind. Three key elements of this developing science are: 1) paying attention to subjective reports on conscious experiences, 2) incorporating the results from psychology and cognitive science, and 3) including the results from neuroscience that will reveal how neuronal systems produce consciousness. He is also responsible for bringing attention to the relevancy of empirical psychology on the way we think of moral psychology. His efforts spawned the modern field of moral psychology.
Owen has also had visiting positions at Berkeley, Brandeis, Princeton, Harvard, and La Trobe in Australia as well as several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In 1993–94, he was President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. In 1998, he was recipient of the Romanell National Phi Beta Kappa award, given annually to one American philosopher for distinguished contributions to philosophy and the public understanding of philosophy. He has lectured on every continent except Antarctica.
Owen authored The Problem Of The Soul: Two Visions Of Mind And How To Reconcile Them, The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World, Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind, Varieties of Moral Personality: Ethics and Psychological Realism, Consciousness Reconsidered, Science of the Mind: 2nd Edition, and Self Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life, and coedited Identity, Character, and Morality: Essays in Moral Psychology, The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates, and Narrative and Consciousness: Literature, Psychology and the Brain.
Owen earned his B.A. in Philosophy at Fordham University in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Boston University in 1978.
Watch Owen Flanagan – Keynote I and Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark – Owen Flanagan. Read his LinkedIn profile and his Wikipedia profile. Visit his Facebook page.