The Natural Philosophy of Experiencing

Philosophies 3 (4):35-0 (2018)

Robert Prentner
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
A new philosophy of nature is urgently needed. The received ontological view, physicalism, is unable to account for experiential phenomena and in particular for consciousness in all its varieties. We shall outline the concept of experiencing which should figure as a new conceptual primitive in natural philosophy. Experiencing refers to a process which comprises the interaction of an agent with its world through action based on phenomenal experience. This process can be viewed under two different aspects. One regards the subjective aspect of experiencing, the other one regards it in terms of physical objects. The first case illustrates the “what-it-is-likeness” of experiencing, the second illustrates how experiencing gets “objectified” in nature. We furthermore wish to delineate our concept of experiencing from the concept of awareness. Scientific theories that explain how awareness comes about in sufficiently organized brains should respect the distinction between experiencing and awareness. We also sketch how experiencing could be related to theoretical biology in terms of information processing by organisms. Experiencing is non-exclusive; it refers to a primitive and a-personal natural process and not to a property possessed only by humans or other persons.
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The Significance of Emergence.Tim Crane - 2001 - In Barry Loewer & Grant Gillett (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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