I strive to understand consciousness. At as many levels of description and analysis as possible. As a result, my academic education and research has taken me across disciplinary boundaries. I studied biology, psychology, and philosophy at the universities of Berkeley, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Konstanz, and Magdeburg, and hold a M.Sc. degree in Philosophy-Neurosciences-Cognition. My philosophical, empirically informed research focuses on i.) the triangulation of consciousness per se (Metzinger, 2020; Costines et al., 2021), ii.) the mapping of phenomenal state-space (see Bayne, 2016), and iii.) the institutionalization of a secular consciousness culture (Metzinger, 2006; Fink, 2018). I am currently a research assistant to Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger at the Institute of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Mainz (see MPE project). In collaboration with Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt from the Free University of Berlin, I am developing a Citizen Science project that builds on the Altered States Database (Schmidt, 2018) with the goal of mapping the phenomenal state-space (Phenomenomics project). In addition, I am a member of the Psychotropic Substances Research Group (see AGPS) at Charité Berlin, which addresses issues related to altered states of consciousness. I co-founded the MIND Foundation, an organization dedicated to psychedelic research and psychedelic therapy, for which I served as a board member and director of science communications, among several other full-time volunteer positions.
If you are interested in my work or in working with me, please feel free to contact me.
SELECTED RESEARCH & WORKING EXPERIENCES
04/2021–03/2022 Institute of Theoretical Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Mainz, Germany Conceptual research and project management related to the MPE project Supervised by Thomas Metzinger
10/2013–06/2014 Hamm Lab (Psychophysiology Lab), Department of Psychology, University of Greifswald, Germany fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of active and passive coping with threats Supervised by Julia Wendt and Andreas Löw
08/2011–07/2012 D'Esposito Lab (Cognitive Neuroscience Lab), Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley, USA fMRI research on the neurocognitive mechanisms of sustained attention Supervised by Mark D'Esposito and Sepideh Sadaghiani
02/2009–06/2009 Spanagel Lab (Behavioral Genetics Research Group), Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany Behavioral, genetic, and neurochemical research on the influence of circadian clock genes on cocaine addiction Supervised by Rainer Spanagel and Stephanie Perreau-Lenz
PUBLICATIONS & POSTERS
Costines, C., Borghardt, T.L., & Wittmann, M. (2021). The Phenomenology of “Pure” Consciousness as Reported by an Experienced Meditator of the Tibetan Buddhist Karma Kagyu Tradition. Analysis of Interview Content Concerning Different Meditative States. Philosophies, 6(2), 50. (Download PDF).
Egan, M., Costines, C., D'Esposito, M., Sadaghiani, S. (2019, June). Knowing ‘when’ and knowing ‘what’: The impact of cue information on intrinsic top-down control. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Rome, Italy.
Wendt, J., Costines, C., Lindner, K., Pfannmöller, J., Hamm, A., Löw, A. (2014, June). Time course of periaqueductal gray activation during active and passive coping with threat. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Hamburg, Germany.
SELECTED ORGANIZED EVENTS
11/2021 Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), Germany MPE Workshop [International interdisciplinary workshop on the scientific study of minimal phenomenal experience] Co-organizator, and co-host [together with Thomas Metzinger]
09/2019 Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany INSIGHT [International interdisciplinary conference on the scientific study and application of psychedelic states] Co-initiator, co-organizator, and co-host
06/2018–10/2019 MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany MIND Academy [Educational platform for talks and workshops on topics related to altered states of consciousness] Co-initiator, director, co-organizator, and co-host
04/2017–07/2017 Department of Philosophy, University of Magdeburg, Germany Wer ist dieser Ich? [Interdisciplinary and intercultural lecture series on the self; in German; funded by Udo Keller Foundation] Initiator, co-organizator, and co-host
TALKS, TEACHING & OUTREACH
09/2022 lehrreich Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany Talk [online; in German; science outreach] Schulische Bewusstseinskultur [Consciousness Culture in School]
06/2022 Zen Center Altbäckersmühle, Singhofen, Germany Invited 1-week workshop [in German; together with HoKai Österle; science outreach] Philosophy, Science & Culture of Consciousness + Meditation
06/2022 Tübinger Forum for Science and Humanitities, University of Tübingen, Germany Studienkolleg: The Search for the Soul – States of Consciousness in Religion and Science Invited talk [in German] Pure Consciousness and Secular Consciousness Culture
🠕 UPCOMING 🠗 PAST
02/2022 lehrreich Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany Talk [online; in German; science outreach] Schulische Bewusstseinskultur [Consciousness Culture in School]
11/2021 DFG Research Training Groupe, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Germany RTG 2386 Extrospection Interdisciplinary Virtual Workshop: Accessing Mental States Talk [online; together with Timo Torsten Schmidt] Phenomenomics: Mapping the Phenomenal State-Space
10/2021 Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany Talk [online; together with Timo Torsten Schmidt] Phenomenomics: Mapping the Phenomenal State Space
07/2021 University of Vilnius , Lithuania 5th International Conference on Time Perspectives (ICTP2021) Symposium talk [online; together with Federico Alvarez Igarzábal, Alice Teghil, Marc Wittmann] What Is It Like to Experience Emptiness?
10/2020 Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany Talk [online; in German] On How the MPE Project and the Phenomenomics Project Complement Each Other
10/2020 Psychotropic Substances Research Group, Charité Berlin University of Medicine, Germany Talk [online; in German] Philosophically Informed Consciousness Research
02/2020 Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies (CIIS), University of Tübingen, Germany Invited talk and two-day workshop [in German] Introduction to Psychedelic Science and Secular Consciousness Culture
06/2018 MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Research, Berlin, Germany Talk [in German] Thomas Metzinger’s Concept of Minimal Phenomenal Experience
04/2017–07/2017 University Sports Center, University of Magdeburg, Germany Student course [weekly; in German] Theory and Practice of Zen Meditation
Explorative introspection Over the past decade, I have been experimenting with various consciousness technologies (e.g., meditation) both to increase my mental autonomy and to heuristically inform my academic consciousness research by improving my ability to systematically and comprehensively describe and analyze my own phenomenal state-space.
Graceful simplification Over the past decade, I have been experimenting with different lifestyles (e.g., voluntary homelessness) to figure out what I really need and don't need to live a good life and to prepare myself to die well. For example, a simple lifestyle with the bare essentials has proven to be most beneficial for me. Currently, I am preparing to live in the woods of Brandenburg, in a tiny house, named Ada.