Who's On First?

Authors
Daniel C. Dennett
Tufts University
Abstract
There is a pattern of miscommunication bedeviling the people working on consciousness that is reminiscent of the classic Abbott and Costello ‘ Who ’ s on First?’ routine. With the best of intentions, people are talking past each other, seeing major disagreements when there are only terminological or tactical preferences — or even just matters of emphasis — that divide the sides. Since some substantive differences also lurk in this confusion, it is well worth trying to sort out. Much of the problem seems to have been caused by some misdirection in my apologia for heterophenomenology, advertised as an explicitly third - person approach to human consciousness, so I will try to make amends by first removing those misleading signposts and sending us back to the real issues. On the face of it, the study of human consciousness involves phenomena that seem to occupy something rather like another dimension : the private, subjective, ‘ first - person ’ dimension. Everybody agrees that this is where we start. What, then, is the relation between the standard ‘ third - person ’ objective methodologies for studying meteors or magnets, and the methodologies for studying human consciousness? Can the standard methods be extended in such a way as to do justice to the phenomena of human consciousness? Or do we have to find some quite radical or revolutionary alternative science? I have defended the hypothesis that there is a straightforward, conservative extension of objective science that handsomely covers the ground — all the ground — of human consciousness, doing justice to all the data without ever having to abandon the rules and constraints of the experimental method that have worked so well in the rest of science. This third - person methodology, dubbed heterophenomenology, is, I have claimed, the sound way to take the first person point of view as seriously as it can be taken.
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Turning Hard Problems on Their Heads.Daniel D. Hutto - 2006 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (1):75-88.
First-Person Experiments: A Characterisation and Defence.Brentyn J. Ramm - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9:449–467.
Heterophenomenology Reconsidered.Daniel C. Dennett - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):247-270.
The Phenomenologically Manifest.Uriah Kriegel - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):115-136.

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