James (1842-1910) stands as one of America’s preeminent philosophical thinkers
on the nature of consciousness. James advocated that the field of psychology
should develop around an integrated cognitive psychology of experiential
consciousness. By asserting that consciousness does not exist as an
independent entity, but rather as a function of particular lived states—of
which waking consciousness is just one among many possible states of
awareness—James experimented with, and gave philosophical credence to, the
role of alternative states of consciousness in evolving conceptions of the self
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is a nonprofit public
education, law, and policy center working in the public interest to foster
intellectual freedom and cognitive liberty.
The CCLE broadly defines
cognitive liberty as the right of each individual to think
independently, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind, and to engage in
multiple modes of thought. More specifically, the CCLE considers cognitive
liberty to mediate between freedom of thought and electro-chemical manipulation
of the brain.
CCLE has developed the William James Project
to focus public attention on the philosophy of consciousness in relation to
individual rights of mind. With this project, the CCLE calls for serious
consideration by policy advisors and scholars to situate their work in relation
to emerging cognitive liberty issues, and seeks their informed input in
formulating social policies that respect and protect the full potential of the
William James Project is multi-dimensional and seeks to:
Foster collaborative exchanges with interested scholars and researchers from
many backgrounds with an abiding interest in freedom of thought; and encourage
them to frame issues, pose conceptual distinctions, and address the merits of
Determine how available tools and mind
technologies do or do not contribute to enhancing thought processes and address
the regulation of these in the past, present, and near future.
Encourage the development and implementation of course curriculum and the
discussion of cognitive liberty issues in university forums.
Provide support for scholars and researchers with grantable projects
aimed at the study and development of cognitive liberty jurisprudence, social
policy, or intellectual history.
Solicit interest and participation in the CCLE’s upcoming conference
(2003): “Mind Matters: Cognitive Liberty and Neuroethics.”
To achieve these project goals,
Provides informative lectures that highlight cognitive liberty
issues for university audiences.
Conducts and facilitates professional research on cognitive liberty
jurisprudence, social policy, or intellectual history involving related
social implications and systemic conditions.
Provides 501(c)(3) status for eligible grant proposals.
Develops and promotes a Cognitive Liberty
& Neuroethics Curriculum and assist interested students, lecturers, and
professors in offering such a course.
Return to William
James Project Index