Irreducible Cognitive Phenomenology and the AHA! Experience

Phenomenology and Mind 10:108-121 (2016)
Authors
John Joseph Dorsch
University of Edinburgh
Abstract
Elijah Chudnoff’s case for irreducible cognitive phenomenology hinges on seeming to see the truth of a mathematical proposition (Chudnoff 2015). In the following, I develop an augmented version of Chudnoff’s case, not based on seeming to see, or intuition, but based on being in a state with presentational phenomenology of high-level content. In contrast to other cases for cognitive phenomenology, those based on Strawson’s case (Strawson 2011), I argue that the case presented here is able to withstand counterarguments, which attempt to reduce cognitive phenomenology to sensory phenomenology. To support my argument, I present findings from Bowden and Jung-Beeman’s experiments with the Aha! Experience (Bowden & Jung-Beeman 2004), and argue that the Aha! Experience is a species of the experience of understanding presented here. I interpret the results of these experiments to provide further evidence for irreducible cognitive phenomenology.
Keywords cognitive phenomenology  'aha!' experience  eureka moment  phenomenal contrast argument  presentational phenomenology  language comprehension  conscious thought  phenomenal consciousness  judgment  compound remote associate problems
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