In June 2018, Matthew began a research fellowship at Gonzaga University generously funded by the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation. As the Elizabeth R. Koch Research Fellow for Tiny Blue Dot Consciousness Studies, he is advised by Dr. Christof Koch and Dr. Brian Clayton. Matthew’s research focuses on the ancient view of human ontology called hylomorphism and a relatively new view in theoretical neuroscience, the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness. In light of his doctoral research, which focused on mental causation and neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), he developed the Mind-Body Powers model of NCC based on neo-Thomistic hylomorphism and an Aristotelian metaphysics of causation (see Owen 2018). As a Tiny Blue Dot research fellow, he is investigating the similarities and differences between IIT and hylomorphism, with a keen interest in how the two views might mutually benefit each other. Furthermore, and most significantly, Matthew is investigating whether the Mind-Body Powers model of NCC can be combined with facets of IIT to ground the possibility of measuring consciousness, regardless of whether it is reducible or irreducible. If so, reductivists and nonreductivists regarding consciousness can share a common goal of developing a means for empirically measuring consciousness.
On 27 June 2018, he presented a paper ‘The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness & hylomorphism: exploring common ground’ at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness 22nd annual conference at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. Also in 2018, his research article, ‘Aristotelian Causation and Neural Correlates of Consciousness’ was published in the journal Topoi. And Mihretu Guta’s volume Consciousness and the Ontology of Properties (Routledge 2019) was pre-released during the summer of 2018. Matthew contributed a chapter on NCC to Guta’s volume. He also wrote a short literature review on dualism for the blog of the American Philosophical Association.
So far in 2019, Matthew has presented a research poster on the sufficiency of neural mechanisms of consciousness at the Consciousness Research Network international conference in Okazaki, Japan. His corresponding article (with Mihretu Guta) entitled, ‘Physically Sufficient Neural Mechanisms of Consciousness’ was published in a special issue of Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience on brain mechanisms of consciousness. And Matthew’s article ‘Exploring Common Ground Between the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness and Aristotelian Metaphysics’ was published in a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies on IIT. In June, he gave a lab talk at the Center for Sleep and Consciousness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a presentation at the Tyndale Fellowship Conference at Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge and the Science of Consciousness conference hosted by Collegium Helveticum (University of Zürich, ETH Zürich, Zürich University of the Arts) in Interlaken, Switzerland. And in September, his article ‘Circumnavigating the causal pairing problem with hylomorphism and the integrated information theory of consciousness’ was published in Synthese.
Beyond his work in consciousness research, in the area of analytic theology, Matthew edited with Fred Sanders a special issue of TheoLogica. He also co-authored an article in the issue with John Anthony Dunne that addresses the metaphysics of identity statements and the logical coherence of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.