Consciousness and digestion: Sartre and Neuroscience

Sartre Studies International 11 (1-2):117-132 (2006)
Abstract
While Sartre scholars cannot fairly be described as being opposed to science, they have, for the most part, stayed aloof. The field of psychology, of course, has been an exception. Sartre himself felt compelled to present his own existential psychoanalysis by marking the parallels and differences between his position and traditional approaches, particularly the Freudian. The same is true with respect to his concept of bad faith and of emotional behavior. Scholars have followed his lead with richly productive results. But we may note that the debate has centered on psychic and therapeutic issues, aspects of what Sartre called le vécu or lived experience, rather than on the findings of cognitive science or neuroscience. Although all existentialists and phenomenologists accept as a central tenet the fact that consciousness is embodied, there has been virtually no concern with the biological substratum. But the study of consciousness cannot be restricted within its own narrow confines—unlike, say, Greek grammar, which can be learned without reference to the rules of Arabic. At some point, there must be established an organic foundation for the behavior of the conscious organism
Keywords Causality  Consciousness  Neuroscience  Psychology  Science  Self  Edelman, Gerald  Sartre, Jean Paul
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