Professor Max Velmans

Max’s research is in consciousness studies, particularly integrating philosophy and psychology in clinical practice.

Staff details

Professor Max Velmans


Emeritus Professor




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Max is Emeritus Professor (BSc PhD CPsychol FBPsS FAcSS) of Psychology at Goldsmiths, currently focusing on Consciousness Studies, to which he has made extensive contributions through teaching, administration, and research. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley (1984), a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Westminster and Plymouth, and National Visiting Professor for 2010-2011 of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Government of India. His main book Understanding Consciousness was short listed for the BPS book prize in 2001 and 2002 and he has over 130 publications in this area (over 100 on-line at Research Gate and

Grants and Awards

Max has received grants to support his earlier research on deafness rehabilitation from The National Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Health and Social Security, the Medical Research Council, the British Technology Group, and his later research on consciousness from ESRC, the Fetzer Institute (USA), the Templeton Foundation (USA), and the Hari Prasad Shastri Charitable Trust.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Max has given over 150 invited papers nationally and internationally, around 120 of which have been keynote addresses or plenary papers at conferences, workshops or symposia on consciousness, some of which have been open to the public, as well given invited papers in many overseas departments and institutions.

His earlier hearing aid research was exhibited at the Royal Society, UC Berkeley, and at exhibitions sponsored by RNID, The Institute of Laryngology and Otology, and the National Society for Deaf Children. Documentaries of this research have also been made by the Central Office of Information (for overseas distribution), BBC1, programmes on Radio 2, BBC World Service, and reports in the press. His work on Consciousness has also been featured in discussions and/or radio interviews, including BBC4 and World Service, along with various YouTube films, Wikipedia, and reports on many sites on the World Wide Web.

In 1997 Max co-founded the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section of the BPS and has organised or helped to organise many conferences, workshops and symposia on consciousness, including international ones sponsored by the CIBA foundation (London), the Fetzer Institute (USA) and the Templeton Foundation (USA). From 2006 onwards he also founded Totnes Consciousness Café with visiting speakers at monthly meetings in Totnes, where he now lives.

He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, The Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research and Practice (American Psychological Association), Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, NeuroPsychoanalysis, and Journal of Parapsychology.


Publications and research outputs


Velmans, Max. 2017. Towards a Deeper Understanding of Consciousness: Selected works of Max Velmans. Andover, Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138699441

Velmans, Max. 2009. Understanding Consciousness: Second Edition. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge. ISBN 9780415425162

Velmans, Max. 2002. How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains? Exeter: Imprint Academic. ISBN 9780907845393

Edited Book

Velmans, Max, ed. 2018. Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology), Volume 2: Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches to the Study of Consciousness, Part 1. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138848658

Velmans, Max, ed. 2018. Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology), Volume 1: The Origins of Psychology and the Study of Consciousness. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138848641

Velmans, Max, ed. 2018. Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology), Volume 3: Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches the Study of Consciousness, Part 2. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138848665

Book Section

Velmans, Max. 2021. Is the Universe Conscious? Reflexive Monism and the Ground of Being. In: Edward Kelly and Paul Marshall, eds. Consciousness Unbound: Liberating Mind from the Tyranny of Materialism. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 175-228. ISBN 9781538139424

Velmans, Max. 2018. General Introduction to Volumes 1 to 4: A psychological view of the long history of thought about consciousness. In: M Velmans, ed. Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology) Volume 1: The Origins of Psychology and the Study of Consciousness. 1 Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 1-30. ISBN 9781138848641

Velmans, Max. 2018. Introduction to Volume 2. In: M Velmans, ed. Consciousness (Critical Concepts in Psychology) Volume 2: Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches to the Study of Consciousness Part 1. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 1-14. ISBN 9781138848658


Velmans, Max. 2022. Functional theories can describe many features of conscious phenomenology but cannot account for its existence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 45, e62. ISSN 0140-525X

Velmans, Max. 2018. How to investigate perceptual projection: A commentary on Perereira, Jr. "The Projective Theory of Consciousness: from Neuroscience to Philosophical Psychology". Trans/Form/Ação, Marília, Edição Especial, 41, pp. 233-242. ISSN 0101-3173

Velmans, Max and Bright, Richard. 2015. Understanding Consciousness: An Interview. Interalia Magazine: Special Issue on "With Consciousness in Mind (part 2)"(12),


Velmans, Max. 2001. Heterophenomenology versus critical phenomenology: A dialogue with Dan Dennett (on-line debate).


Velmans, Max; Morrison-Coulthart, Lisa; Colley, Ann; Foot, Hugh; Foreman, Nigel; Kent, Gerry; Kwiatkowski, Richard and Sloboda, John. 2004. Guidelines for Minimum Standards of Ethical Approval in Psychological Research. Manual. The British Psychological Society, Leicester.

Research Interests

Max's work introduces and develops reflexive monism, a novel resolution of the “hard problems” of consciousness that provides a framework for a non-reductionist science of consciousness.

  • consciousness
  • mind/body interactions
  • philosophy of psychology
  • integrating philosophy, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and mind/body interactions in clinical practice.
  • the relation of brain to experience
  • conscious versus unconscious processing
  • the nature of subjectivity, intersubjectivity and objectivity
  • how to avoid both dualism and reductionism
  • the problems of free will

For a review and discussion of some of my published research go to My Selected Publications