New York: Routledge (2015)
Phenomenology is about subjective aspects of the mind, such as the conscious states associated with vision and touch, and the conscious states associated with emotions and moods, such as feelings of elation or sadness. These states have a distinctive first-person ‘feel’ to them, called their phenomenal character. In this respect they are often taken to be radically different from mental states and processes associated with thought.
This is the first book to fully question this orthodoxy and explore the prospects of cognitive phenomenology, applying phenomenology to the study of thought and cognition. Does cognition have its own phenomenal character? Can introspection tell us either way? If consciousness flows in an unbroken ‘stream’ as William James argued, how might a punctuated sequence of thoughts fit into it?
Elijah Chudnoff begins with a clarification of the nature of the debate about cognitive phenomenology and the network of concepts and theses that are involved in it. He then examines the following topics:
• Introspection and knowledge of our own thoughts
• Phenomenal contrast arguments
• The value of consciousness
• The temporal structure of experience
• The holistic character of experience and the interdependence of sensory and cognitive states
• The relationship between phenomenal character and mental representation -/- Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and informative introduction to and assessment of cognitive phenomenology, whether philosophy student or advanced researcher. It will also be valuable reading for those in related subjects such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and epistemology.