Can we trust the phenomenological interview? Metaphysical, epistemological, and methodological objections

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 21 (1):33-51 (2022)
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Abstract

The paper defends the position that phenomenological interviews can provide a rich source of knowledge and that they are in no principled way less reliable or less valid than quantitative or experimental methods in general. It responds to several skeptic objections such as those raised against introspection, those targeting the unreliability of episodic memory, and those claiming that interviews cannot address the psychological, cognitive and biological correlates of experience. It argues that the skeptic must either heed the methodological and epistemological justification of the phenomenological interview provided, or embrace a more fundamental skepticism, a “deep mistrust”, in which scientific discourse can have no recourse to conscious processes as explananda, with ensuing dire consequences for our conception of science.

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