Max Velmans is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He co-founded the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society in 1994, and served as its chair from 2003 to 2006. He was appointed National Visiting Professor for 2010–2011 by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, and in 2011 was elected to the British Academy of Social Sciences.
Velmans has around 100 publications in the area of consciousness studies, including Understanding Consciousness (2000). In his map of prominent theories of consciousness Francisco Varela categorises Velmans’ work as non-reductionist, stressing the importance of first-person accounts of the phenomenology of consciousness, as well as third-person accounts of brain states and functions, which in Velmans’ work are thought of as complementary.
Velmans is principally known for the theory of consciousness called “reflexive monism,” in which the materialist/dualist gap is bridged by placing aspects of human consciousness in the experienced world, rather than within the brain; the theory also combines facets of realism with facets of idealism, though it falls short of avowing the necessity of perception to the existence of reality per se (the principle of “esse est percipi”).