Experiential rationalism

The main aim of my research project is to investigate the conscious and normative aspects of the mind and their complex relationships to each other. More concretely, the guiding theme of my research is to develop and defend Experiential Rationalism - the claim that our mental episodes are given to us as responses to and/or providers of reasons and, therefore, involve an experience of their rational nature. I intend to provide a detailed formulation and defense of this view and, in addition, to illustrate its explanatory power by applying it to certain mainly epistemological and phenomenological issues concerning self-knowledge, perceptual awareness, and normative judgements. The project thereby developes further many of the themes and topics in the philosophy of conscious mental phenomena, in the philosophy of rationality and normativity, and in aesthetics, which I have been working on during the past few years, and unifies them in a single and both simple and powerful view. The resulting position combines both rationalist and empiricist elements. It is rationalist in so far as it stresses the importance of the rational nature and, more generally, of the normativity of our mental episodes. But it also involves empiricist aspects to the extent to which it takes our awareness of the rationality of our episodes to be experiential and non-intellectual and thus avoids problems of over-intellectualisation. Experiential Rationalism therefore stands in a tradition of views which - starting notably from Locke, Hume and Quine, and answering to challenges from philosophers like Kant, Frege or Wittgenstein - have recognised the limits of empiricism in its attempt to answer metaphysical and epistemological questions and have tried to overcome them by adding rationalist elements
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