What is it like to be a good person? I examine and reject suggestions that this will involve having thoughts which have virtue or being a good person as part of their content, as well as suggestions that it might be the presence of feelings distinct from the virtuous person’s thoughts. Is there, then, anything after all to the phenomenology of virtue? I suggest that an answer is to be found in looking to Aristotle’s suggestion that virtuous activity is (...) pleasant to the virtuous person. I try to do this, using the work of the contemporary social psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi and his work on the ‘flow experience’. Crucial here is the point that I consider accounts of virtue which take it to have the structure of a practical expertise or skill. It is when we are most engaged in skilful complex activity that the activity is experienced as ‘unimpeded’, in Aristotle’s terms, or as ‘flow’. This experience does not, as might at first appear, preclude thoughtful involvement and reflection. Although we can say what in general the phenomenology of virtue is like, each of us only has some more or less dim idea of it from the extent to which we are virtuous—that is, for most of us, not very much. (shrink)
The topic of this paper is phenomenology. How should we think of phenomenology – the discipline or activity of investigating experience itself – if phenomenology is to be a genuine source of knowledge? This is related to the question whether phenomenology can make a contribution to the empirical study of human or animal experience. My own view is that it can. But only if we make a fresh start in understanding what phenomenology is and can (...) be. (shrink)
Can phenomenology contribute to the burgeoning science of consciousness? Dennett’s reply would probably be that it very much depends upon the type of phenomenology in question. In my paper I discuss the relation between Dennett’s heterophenomenology and the type of classical philosophical phenomenology that one can find in Husserl, Scheler and Merleau-Ponty. I will in particular be looking at Dennett’s criticism of classical phenomenology. How vulnerable is it to Dennett’s criticism, and how much of a challenge (...) does his own alternative constitute? I will argue that there are some rather marked differences between these two approaches to consciousness, but as I also hope to make clear, Dennett’s own account of where the differences are located is off target and ultimately based on a somewhat flawed conception of what classical phenomenology amounts to. (shrink)
In recent years, more and more people have started talking about the necessity of reconciling phenomenology with the project of naturalization. Is it possible to bridge the gap between phenomenological analyses and naturalistic models of consciousness? Is it possible to naturalize phenomenology? Given the transcendental philosophically motivated anti-naturalism found in many phenomenologists such a naturalization proposal might seem doomed from the very start, but in this paper I will examine and evaluate some possible alternatives.
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the what, the how, and the why of moral phenomenology. I consider first the question What is moral phenomenology?, secondly the question How to pursue moral phenomenology?, and thirdly the question Why pursue moral phenomenology? My treatment of these questions is preliminary and tentative, and is meant not so much to settle them as to point in their answers’ direction.
This paper distinguishes between two senses of the term “phenomenology”: a narrow sense (drawn from Nagel) and a broader sense (drawn from Husserl). It claims, with particular reference to the moral sphere, that the narrow meaning of moral phenomenology cannot stand alone, that is, that moral phenomenology in the narrow sense entails moral intentionality. The paper proceeds by examining different examples of the axiological and volitional experiences of both virtuous and dutiful agents, and it notes the correlation (...) between the phenomenal and intentional differences belonging to these experiences. The paper concludes with some reflections on how the focus on the broader sense of “phenomenology” serves to provide a more precise sense of what we might mean by “moral phenomenology.”. (shrink)
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitive science concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended from (...) the work of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
An account of the source of ﬁrst-person knowledge is essential not just for phenomenology, but for anyone who takes seriously the apparent evidence that we each have a distinctive access to knowing what we experience. One standard way to account for the source of ﬁrst-person knowledge is by appeal to a kind of inner observation of the passing contents of one’s own mind, and phenomenology is often thought to rely on introspection. I argue, however, that Husserl’s method of (...) phenomenological reduction was designed precisely to ﬁnd a route to knowledge of the structures of consciousness that was independent of any appeal to observation of one’s own mental states. The goals of this essay are to explicate Husserl’s method of phenomenological reduction in contemporary terms that (1) show its distance from all inner-observation accounts, (2) exhibit its kinship to and historical inﬂuence on outer-observation accounts of selfknowledge popularized by Sellars, and (3) demonstrate that a contemporary ‘cognitive transformation’ view based on Husserl’s method may provide a viable contribution to contemporary debates about the source of self-knowledge. (shrink)
In this short paper, I argue that the phenomenology of moral judgment is not unified across different areas of morality (involving harm, hierarchy, reciprocity, and impurity) or even across different relations to harm. Common responses, such as that moral obligations are experienced as felt demands based on a sense of what is fitting, are either too narrow to cover all moral obligations or too broad to capture anything important and peculiar to morality. The disunity of moral phenomenology is, (...) nonetheless, compatible with some uses of moral phenomenology for moral epistemology and with the objectivity and justifiability of parts of morality. (shrink)
Plain phenomenology explains theoretically salient mental or psychological distinctions with an appeal to their first-person applications. But it does not assume (as does heterophenomenology) that warrant for such first-person judgment is derived from an explanatory theory constructed from the third-person perspective. Discussions in historical phenomenology can be treated as plain phenomenology. This is illustrated by a critical consideration of Brentano’s account of consciousness, drawing on some ideas in early Husserl. Dennett’s advocacy of heterophenomenology on the grounds of (...) its supposed “neutrality” does not show it is preferable to plain phenomenology. In fact the latter is more neutral in ways we ought to want, and permits a desirable (and desirably critical) use of first-person reflection that finds no place in the former. (shrink)
The duration of “now” is shown to be important not only for an understanding of how conscious beings sense duration, but also for the validity of the phenomenological enterprise as Husserl conceived it. If “now” is too short, experiences can not be described before they become memories, which can be considered to be transcendent rather than immanent phenomena and therefore inadmissible as phenomenological data. Evidence concerning (a) the objective duration of sensations in various sensory modalities, (b) the time necessary for (...) sensations to enter consciousness and (c) the variability in the subjective sense of time's passing under different conditions is used to conclude that the duration of “now” can actually vary under normal conditions from about 10 ms to several seconds and in extreme cases up to several hours. Thus the immanent moment can be long enough to encompass a report of the contents of consciousness, making phenomenology a viable project. A further speculation from the evidence described is that consciousness takes discrete samples of the external world, at a rate inversely proportional to the duration of the “now” moment. (shrink)
This paper will seek firstly to understand Deleuze’s main challenges to phenomenology, particularly as they are expressed in The Logic of Sense (1968) and What is Philosophy? (1991), although reference will also be made to Pure Immanence (1994) and Difference and Repetition (1968). We will then turn to a discussion of one of the few passages in which Deleuze (with Guattari) directly engages with Merleau-Ponty, which occurs in the chapter on art in What is Philosophy? In this text, he (...) and Guattari offer a critique of what they call the “final avatar” of phenomenology – that is, the “fleshism” that Merleau-Ponty proposes in his unfinished but justly famous work, The Visible and the Invisible (1964). It will be argued that both Deleuze’s basic criticisms of phenomenology, as well as he and Guattari’s problems with the concept of the flesh, do not adequately come to grips with Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy. Merleau-Ponty is not obviously partisan to what Deleuze finds problematic in this tradition, despite continuing to identify himself as a phenomenologist, and is working within a surprisingly similar framework in certain key respects. In fact, in the more positive part of this paper, we will compare Merleau-Ponty’s notion of flesh, and Deleuze’s equally infamous univocity of being, as a means to consider the broader question of the ways in which the two philosophers consider ontological thought, its meaning and its conditions. It is our belief that through properly understanding both positions, a rapprochement, or at least the foundation for one, can be established between these two important thinkers. (shrink)
Many moral philosophers in the Western tradition have used phenomenological claims as starting points for philosophical inquiry; aspects of moral phenomenology have often been taken to be anchors to which any adequate account of morality must remain attached. This paper raises doubts about whether moral phenomena are universal and robust enough to serve the purposes to which moral philosophers have traditionally tried to put them. Persons’ experiences of morality may vary in a way that greatly limits the extent to (...) which moral phenomenology can constitute a reason to favor one moral theory over another. Phenomenology may not be able to serve as a pre-theoretic starting point or anchor in the consideration of rival moral theories because moral phenomenology may itself be theory-laden. These doubts are illustrated through an examination of how moral phenomenology is used in the thought of Ralph Cudworth, Samuel Clarke, Joseph Butler, Francis Hutcheson, and Søren Kierkegaard. (shrink)
Moral phenomenology is (roughly) the study of those features of occurrent mental states with moral significance which are accessible through direct introspection, whether or not such states possess phenomenal character – a what-it-is-likeness. In this paper, as the title indicates, we introduce and make prefatory remarks about moral phenomenology and its significance for ethics. After providing a brief taxonomy of types of moral experience, we proceed to consider questions about the commonality within and distinctiveness of such experiences, with (...) an eye on some of the main philosophical issues in ethics and how moral phenomenology might be brought to bear on them. In discussing such matters, we consider some of the doubts about moral phenomenology and its value to ethics that are brought up by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Michael Gill in their contributions to this issue. (shrink)
Dennett’s heterophenomenology and the critical phenomenology that I outline may be thought of as competing accounts of a cautious approach to phenomenal description and method. One can be critical or cautious about how well or how reliably a subject can communicate his or her subjective experience in experimental settings, without for a moment doubting their existence or claiming them to be something completely different to how they seem. Given this, Dennett’s heterophenomenology with its accompanying “qualia denial” looks like nothing (...) more than an attempt to shore up his counterintuitive, eliminativist philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In the attempt to construct a scientific approach to consciousness, it has been proposed that transcendental phenomenology or phenomenological psychology be introduced into the framework of cognitive neuroscience. In this article, the consequences of such an approach in terms of basic assumptions, methods for the collection of data, and evaluation of the collected data are discussed. Especially, the proposed notions of mutual constraint and the second perso are discussed. It is concluded that even though naturalising of phenomenology might (...) not prove impossible, the projec has not yet found a coherent basic ground. (shrink)
Dennett’s contrast between auto- and hetero-phenomenology is badly drawn, primarily because Dennett identifies phenomenologists as introspective psychologists. The contrast I draw between phenomenology and hetero-phenomenology is not in terms of the difference between a first-person, introspective perspective and a third-person perspective but rather in terms of the difference between two third-person accounts – a descriptive phenomenology and an explanatory psychology – both of which take the first-person perspective into account.
Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) are a highly complex and rich phenomena, and this has a number of important clinical, theoretical and methodological implications. However, until recently, this fact has not always been incorporated into the experimental designs and theoretical paradigms used by researchers within the cognitive sciences. In this paper, we will briefly outline two recent examples of phenomenologically informed approaches to the study of AVHs taken from a cognitive science perspective. In the first example, based on Larøi and Woodward (...) (Harv Rev Psychiatry 15:109–117, 2007 ), it is argued that reality monitoring studies examining the cognitive underpinnings of hallucinations have not reflected the phenomenological complexity of AVHs in their experimental designs and theoretical framework. The second example, based on Jones (Schizophr Bull, in press, 2010 ), involves a critical examination of the phenomenology of AVHs in the context of two other prominent cognitive models: inner speech and intrusions from memory. It will be shown that, for both examples, the integration of a phenomenological analysis provides important improvements both on a methodological, theoretical and clinical level. This will be followed by insights and critiques from philosophy and clinical psychiatry—both of which offer a phenomenological alternative to the empiricist–rationalist conceptualisation of AVHs inherent to the cognitive sciences approach. Finally, the paper will conclude with ideas as to how the cognitive sciences may integrate these latter perspectives into their methodological and theoretical programmes. (shrink)
The recent move to naturalize phenomenology through a mathematical protocol is a significant advance in consciousness research. It enables a new and fruitful level of dialogue between the cognitive sciences and phenomenology of such a nuanced kind that it also prompts advancement in our phenomenological analyses. But precisely what is going on at this point of ‘dialogue’ between phenomenological descriptions and mathematical algorithms, the latter of which are based on dynamical systems theory? It will be shown that what (...) is happening is something more than a mere ‘passing of the baton’ from phenomenology to mathematics. For this sophisticated naturalization to prove a worthy endeavour it must produce more than just correlation, it must prove some form of interrelation to the extent that phenomenology is deterministic. But such interrelational and deterministic requirements are the start of a slippery slope, and it will be argued that this slope only loses more friction once a further demand of formal and precise descriptions is made of phenomenology. Such deterministic and formally precise demands misconstrue phenomenology’s ideal goal of a unification of genuine/originary reason and truth. Not a deductive and definitive discipline, phenomenology is rather from the outset descriptive and critical. Phenomenology’s descriptive beginnings will thus be employed as an essential barrier to the naturalization of phenomenology. (shrink)
Dennett’s recent defense in this journal of the heterophenomenological method and its supposed advantages over Husserlian phenomenology is premised on his problematic account of the epistemological and ontological status of phenomenological states. By employing Husserl’s philosophy of science to clarify the relationship between phenomenology and evidence and the implications of this relationship for the empirical identification of ‘real’ conscious states, I argue that the naturalistic account of consciousness Dennett hopes for could be authoritative as a science only by (...) virtue of the very phenomenological evidences Dennett’s method consigns to the realm of fiction. Thus heterophenomenology, qua scientific method, is incoherent. (shrink)
In this paper I trace Husserl’s transformation of his notion of phantasy from its strong leanings towards empiricism into a transcendental phenomenology of imagination. Rejecting the view that this account is only more incompatible with contemporary neuroscientific research, I instead claim that the transcendental suspension of naturalistic (or scientific) pretensions precisely enables cooperation between the two distinct realms of phenomenology and science. In particular, a transcendental account of phantasy can disclose the specific accomplishments of imagination without prematurely deciding (...) upon a particular scientific paradigm for its experimental investigation; a decision that is best left to the sciences themselves. (shrink)
Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons’ work implies four criteria that moral phenomenology must be capable of meeting if it is to be a viable field of study that can make a worthwhile contribution to moral philosophy. It must be (a) about a unifed subject matter as well as being, (b) wide, (c) independent, and (d) robust. Contrary to some scepticism about the possibility or usefulness of this field, I suggest that these criteria can be met by elucidating the very (...) foundations of moral experience or what I call a moral ontology of the human person. I attempt to partially outline such an ontology by engaging with Robert Sokolowski's phenomenology of the human person from a moral perspective. My analysis of Sokolowski's thought leads me to five core ideas of a moral ontology of the human person: well-being, virtue, freedom, responsibility, and phronesis. Though I do not by any means boast a complete moral ontology of the human person, I go on to demonstrate how the account I have presented, or something like it, can go a long way to helping moral phenomenology meet the criteria it requires to be a viable and worthwhile pursuit. (shrink)
We undertake to bring a phenomenological perspective to bear on a challenge of contemporary law and clinical practice. In a wide variety of contexts, legal and medical professionals are called upon to assess the competence or capacity of an individual to exercise her own judgement in making a decision for herself. We focus on decisions regarding consent to or refusal of medical treatment and contrast a widely recognised clinical instrument, the MacCAT-T, with a more phenomenologically informed approach. While the MacCAT-T (...) focuses attention on individual cognitive performance criteria, an approach oriented by second-person phenomenology brings into view the complex role of time, others and identity in constituting the capacity for individual autonomous judgement. Our phenomenological analysis has consequences both for the practice of capacity assessments and for further research in this arena. Good practice in capacity assessment must attend to decision communities, distributed capacity, and temporal competence, while research on mental capacity will miss the phenomenon if it trains its focus ‘between the ears.’ We illustrate our approach by considering two recent cases of contested capacity: one involving cognitive disability in a dysfunctional decision community, the second presenting the possibility of competent decision-making under conditions of paranoid schizophrenia. (shrink)
This paper argues that Heidegger's phenomenology of boredom in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude (1983) could be a promising addition to the ‘toolbox’ of scientists investigating conscious experience. We describe Heidegger's methodological principles and show how he applies these in describing three forms of boredom. Each form is shown to have two structural moments – being held in limbo and being left empty – as well as a characteristic relation to passing the time. In our conclusion, (...) we suggest specific ways in which Heidegger's phenomenological description can be used in scientific investigations of boredom. (shrink)
Experientialist semantics has contributed to a broader notion of linguistic meaning by emphasizing notions such as construal, perspective, metaphor, and embodiment, but has suffered from an individualist concept of meaning and has conflated experiential motivations with conventional semantics. We argue that these problems can be redressed by methods and concepts from phenomenology, on the basis of a case study of sentences of non-actual motion such as “The mountain range goes all the way from Mexico to Canada.” Through a phenomenological (...) reanalysis of proposals of Talmy, Langacker, and Matlock, we show that non-actual motion is both experientially and linguistically non-unitary. At least three different features of human consciousness—enactive perception, visual scanning, and imagination—constitute experiential motivations for non-actual motion sentences, and each of these could be related to phenomenological analyses of human intentionality. The second problem is addressed by proposing that the experiential motivations of non-actual motion sentences can be viewed as sedimented through “passive” processes of acquisition and social transmission and that this implies an interactive loop between experience and language, yielding losses in terms of original experience, but gains in terms of communal signification. Something that is underestimated by phenomenology is that what is sedimented are not only intentional objects such as states of affairs, but aspects of how they are given, i.e., the original, temporal, bodily experiences themselves. Since cognitive semantics has emphasized such aspects of meaning, we suggest that phenomenology can itself benefit from experientialist semantics, especially when it turns its focus from prepredicative to predicative, linguistic intentionality. (shrink)
The tradition of realist phenomenology was founded in around 1902 by a group of students in Munich interested in the newly published Logical Investigations of Edmund Husserl. Initial members of the group included Johannes Daubert, Alexander Pfänder, Adolf Reinach and Max Scheler. With Reinach’s move to Göttingen the group acquired two new prominent members – Edith Stein and Roman Ingarden. The group’s method turned on Husserl’s idea that we are in possession a priori (which is to say: non-inductive) knowledge (...) of entities (for example, colors, tones, values, shapes) of a range of different sorts. Pfänder applied this method in his descriptive psychology of willing and motivation, Reinach (anticipating the later speech act theory) to what he called ‘social acts’, Stein to the ontology of communities, and Ingarden to works of art and aesthetic phenomena. The movement latter, through Ingarden, lived on in Poland, where it influenced the young Karol Wojtyła. (shrink)
The epistemological problem of the truth of memory cannot be resolved without establishing a clear distinction between recollection and phantasy. Husserl’s position in this regard is both paradoxical and compelling. It is paradoxical because Husserl repeats his antiskeptical intention many times; but nevertheless in his phenomenology, recollection and phantasy are almost completely identical. Perhaps no philosopher has so radically approached the experience of remembering and the experience of fantasizing as Husserl. But at the same time, the recognition of this (...) fundamental similarity is precisely what allows the phenomenologist to avoid empiricist misunderstandings and thus approach the problem of the distinction between recollection and phantasy in a much more persuasive way than the traditional one. In this paper, I will first try to show how and why Husserl approaches recollection and phantasy. Then I will try to show how it is possible to establish a clear distinction between these two phenomena without misunderstanding the possibility of false memory. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that many of the core phenomenological insights, including the emphasis on direct perception, are a necessary but not sufficient condition for an adequate account of inter-subjectivity today. I take it that an adequate account of inter-subjectivity must involve substantial interaction with empirical studies, notwithstanding the putative methodological differences between phenomenological description and scientific explanation. As such, I will need to explicate what kind of phenomenology survives, and indeed, thrives, in a milieu that necessitates engagement (...) with the relevant sciences, albeit not necessarily deference to them. -/- There will be two central aims to this paper: 1. to defend the centrality and vitality of phenomenological treatments of inter-subjectivity via a consideration of some remarks in Sartre - which I do think possess a non-trivial unity amongst the various interlocutors - and the manner in which they in fact serve to provide the basis for a better explanation of an array of empirical data than existing inferentialist or mindreading accounts of social cognition (notably Theory Theory, Simulation Theory, and hybrid versions); 2. to offer the methodological resources for renewing phenomenology in a manner that acknowledges ostensibly non-phenomenological moments in theory production - which involve explanation, inference to the best explanation, etc. - but does not abandon phenomenology for all that, allowing it to be simply absorbed into empirical explanation or other forms of philosophical analysis without remainder. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the negative injunctions against certain ways of conceiving of the ethico-political that we can draw explicitly from the methodological strictures of phenomenology are also consistent with some of the core more positive dimensions of contemporary virtue ethics (especially at the more anti-theoretical end of the virtue ethical spectrum), and that central aspects of virtue ethics are consistent with most of the explicit reflections on ethical matters proffered by canonical phenomenologists.
The article investigates the possibilities of phenomenology to contribute to the study of animal behaviour, and, respectively, asks how and on what grounds phenomenology can benefit from the research done within empirical sciences. The theoretical point of departure is Maurice Merleau-Ponty's The Structure of Behavior and the essay "The Metaphysical in Man".
I develop a view of the common factor between subjectively indistinguishable perceptions and hallucinations that avoids analyzing experiences as involving awareness relations to abstract entities, sense-data, or any other peculiar entities. The main thesis is that hallucinating subjects employ concepts (or analogous nonconceptual structures), namely the very same concepts that in a subjectively indistinguishable perception are employed as a consequence of being related to external, mind-independent objects or property-instances. These concepts and nonconceptual structures are identified with modes of presentation types. (...) Since a hallucinating subject is not related to any such objects or property-instances, the concepts she employs remain empty. I argue that the phenomenology of hallucinations and perceptions can be identified with employing concepts and analogous nonconceptual structures. By doing so, I defend an ontologically minimalist view of the phenomenology of experience that (1) vindicates Aristotelianism about types and (2) amounts to a naturalized view of the phenomenology of experience. (shrink)
This paper (1) sketches a phenomenological analysis of visual mental imagery; (2) applies this analysis to the mental imagery debate in cognitive science; (3) briefly sketches a neurophenomenological approach to mental imagery; and (4) compares the results of this discussion with Dennett’s heterophenomenology.
The neurological discovery of mirror neurons is of eminent importance for the phenomenological theory of intersubjectivity. G. Rizzolatti and V. Gallese found in experiments with primates that a set of neurons in the premotor cortex represents the visually registered movements of another animal. The activity of these mirror neurons presents exactly the same pattern of activity as appears in the movement of one's own body. These findings may be extended to other cognitive and emotive functions in humans. I show how (...) these neurological findings might be “translated” phenomenologically into our own experienced sensations, feelings and volitions. (shrink)
We perform conceptual acts throughout our daily lives; we are always judging others, guessing their intentions, agreeing or opposing their views and so on. These conceptual acts have phenomenological as well as formal richness. This paper attempts to correct the imbalance between the phenomenal and formal approaches to conceptualization by claiming that we need to shift from the usual dichotomies of cognitive science and epistemology such as the formal/empirical and the rationalist/empiricist divides—to a view of conceptualization grounded in the Indian (...) philosophical notion of valid cognition . Methodologically, our paper is an attempt at cross-cultural philosophy and cognitive science; ontologically, it is an attempt at marrying the phenomenal and the formal. (shrink)
First, I briefly characterize Dretske’s particular naturalization project, emphasizing his naturalistic reconstruction of the notion of representation. Second, I note some apparent similarities between his notion of representation and Husserl’s notion of intentionality, but I find even more important differences. Whereas Husserl takes intentionality to be an intrinsic, phenomenological feature of thought and experience, Dretske advocates an “externalist” account of mental representation. Third, I consider Dretske’s treatment of qualia, because he takes it to show that his representational account of mind (...) succeeds in naturalizing even the “subjective” features of experience. I claim that Dretske's argument for his account of qualia turns on an ambiguous characterization of qualia. I conclude that he succeeds in naturalizing qualia only if qualia are understood as nonphenomenological features of experience and that he therefore has less to say than he thinks about the subjective life of beings such as us. (shrink)
We perform conceptual acts throughout our daily lives; we are always judging others, guessing their intentions, agreeing or opposing their views and so on. These conceptual acts have phenomenological as well as formal richness. This paper attempts to correct the imbalance between the phenomenal and formal approaches to conceptualization by claiming that we need to shift from the usual dichotomies of cognitive science and epistemology such as the formal/empirical and the rationalist/empiricist divides—to a view of conceptualization grounded in the Indian (...) philosophical notion of “valid cognition”. Methodologically, our paper is an attempt at cross-cultural philosophy and cognitive science; ontologically, it is an attempt at marrying the phenomenal and the formal. (shrink)
The phenomenological goal of grounding the content of conceptual thought in the background understanding of everyday, skillful coping was approached using evolutionary autonomous agent (EAA) methodology. The behavior of an EAA evolved to perform a specified motor task was identified with skillful coping. Changes in the dynamics of the EAA controller occurred when the EAA encountered an unexpected obstacle with loss of longer time scale components in its hierarchical temporal organization. These temporal (...) changes are consistent with the phenomenological changes which we experience with breakdown during equipment use with our adoption of a more immediate, determinate stance. Since this latter experience is the basis of conceptual thought, the EAA paradigm goes some way in providing a naturalized explanation for the grounding of the content of conceptual thought in everyday, skillful coping in a manner that is physiologically plausible and phenomenologically accurate. (shrink)
Propositional attitudes are often classified as non-phenomenal mental states. I argue that there is no good reason for doing so. The unwillingness to view propositional attitudes as being essentially phenomenal stems from a biased notion of phenomenality, from not paying sufficient attention to the idioms in which propositional attitudes are usually reported, from overlooking the considerable degree to which different intentional modes can be said to be phenomenologically continuous, and from not considering the possibility that propositional attitudes may be transparent, (...) just like sensations and emotions are commonly held to be: there may be no appropriate way of describing their phenomenal character apart from describing the properties and objects they represent. (shrink)
Among our conscious states are conscious thoughts. The question at the center of the recent growing literature on cognitive phenomenology is this: In consciously thinking P, is there thereby any phenomenology—is there something it’s like? One way of clarifying the question is to say that it concerns whether there is any proprietary phenomenology associated with conscious thought. Is there any phenomenology due to thinking, as opposed to phenomenology that is due to some co-occurring sensation or (...) mental image? In this paper we will present two arguments that a “yes” answer to this question of cognitive phenomenology can be obtained via appeal to the HOT theory of consciousness, especially the version articulated and defended by David Rosenthal. (shrink)
Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s “Eye and Mind” and Bergson’s Matière et mémoire and “La perception du changement,” I ask what resources are available in vision for interrupting objectifying habits of seeing. While both Bergson and Merleau-Ponty locate the possibility of seeing differently in the figure of the painter, I develop by means of their texts, and in dialogue with Iris Marion Young’s work, a more general phenomenology of hesitation that grounds what I am calling “critical-ethical vision.” Hesitation, I argue, stems (...) from affect and leads to critical memory. In hesitation, the seeming coincidence between my habits of seeing and the visible is decentered, revealing these habits and their social reference as the constitutive horizon of my field of vision. Hesitation, then, provides the phenomenological moment within which vision may become at once critically watchful, destabilizing its objectifying habits, and ethically responsive, recollecting its affective grounds. The critical and the ethical are here inseparable. Critically, this vision is an awareness of the structures of invisibility, diacritical and habitual, social and historical, to which my vision owes—dimensions which institute particular ways of seeing and being as norm while eliding others. Ethically, this is the recognition of how seeing is already seeing with others—others whose affective influence is operative within vision, even as their existence is reductively represented or denied. (shrink)
The consensus in contemporary philosophy of mind is that how a perceptual experience represents the world to be is built into its sensory phenomenology. I defend an opposing view which I call ‘moderate separatism’, that an experience's sensory phenomenology does not determine how it represents the world to be. I argue for moderate separatism by pointing to two ordinary experiences which instantiate the same sensory phenomenology but differ with regard to their intentional content. Two experiences of an (...) object reflected in a mirror can possess the same spatial phenomenology while representing that object to occupy different spatial locations. So, contrary to the current consensus, the representation of spatial location is not fixed by an experience's sensory phenomenology. (shrink)
This is the first in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the (...) second article explores the philosophical implications of these questions for the role of consciousness in theories of intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and knowledge of the external world. (shrink)
A blindfolded clairvoyant walks into a room and immediately knows how it is arranged. You walk in and immediately see how it is arranged. Though both of you represent the room as being arranged in the same way, you have different experiences. Your experience doesn’t just represent that the room is arranged a certain way; it also visually presents the very items in the room that make that representation true. Call the felt aspect of your experience made salient by this (...) contrast its presentational phenomenology. Many philosophers have observed that perceptual experiences have presentational phenomenology. In this paper I explore its nature, scope, and significance. I argue that in addition to perceptual experiences, presentational phenomenology can be found in intuitive, introspective, imaginative, and recollective experiences. I also argue that presentational phenomenology is epistemologically significant: it plays a central role in explaining why the experiences that have it justify beliefs and give us knowledge. (shrink)
In Film and Phenomenology, Allan Casebier develops a theory of representation first indicated in the writings of the father of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, and then applies it to the case of cinematic representation. This work provides one of the clearest expositions of Husserl's highly influential but often obscure thought. It also demonstrates the power of phenomenology to illuminate the experience of the art form unique to the twentieth-century cinema. Film and Phenomenology is intended as an antidote (...) to all hitherto existing theories about the nature of cinematic representation, whether issuing from classic sources such as the film theory of Andre Bazin or the post-structuralist synthesis of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Barthesian textual analysis and Metzean cine-semiotics. Casebier shows how a phenomenological account of representation will further the aims of any film theory. Developing a viable feminist film theory, legitimizing the documentary, answering the challenge of Derridean deconstruction, properly theorizing narrativity, Film and Phenomenology argues that theory of film must be Realist both with respect to epistemology and ontological issues. In this way, this work runs contrary to the whole course of contemporary film theory which has been deeply anti-Realist. (shrink)
This is a concordance of page numbers in the following editions of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception: English editions prior to the Routledge Classics 2002; Routledge Classics edition, with the new pagination; the French edition from Gallimard, prior to 2005; the 2e edition from Gallimard, 2005, with new pagination.
This is the second in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the (...) second article explores the philosophical implications of these questions for the role of consciousness in theories of intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and knowledge of the external world. (shrink)
Clarifying the essential experiential structures at work in our everyday moral engagements promises both (1) to provide a perspicacious self-understanding, and (2) to significantly contribute to theoretical and practical matters of moral philosophy. Since the phenomenological enterprise is concerned with revealing the a priori structures of experience in general, it is then well positioned to discern the essential structures of moral experience specifically. Phenomenology can therefore significantly contribute to matters pertaining to moral philosophy. In this paper I would like (...) to contribute to the relatively small yet burgeoning field of phenomenological ethics. I endeavour to do so by first identifying and consolidating the basic level of sense-bestowal, and then outlining the a priori structures of volition in order to demonstrate how such phenomenologically discerned structures are required for moral experience. Specifically, in section one I locate moral experience as at the level of meaning that is phenomenologically identified as the life-world, and then vindicate the life-world by illustrating how it is immune to naturalistic rationalisation. By thus both securing the level of meaning that is of concern and importantly delimiting the scope of our analysis, I proceed in section two to relate the volitional analyses of Aristotle, Husserl, and Heidegger. This relation is achieved thanks to a conceptual point of continuity: ‘prohairesis’. By examining the function of this concept (as an intentional structure) and its phenomenological continuity, the ground is then prepared for further phenomenological analyses of the virtues. (shrink)