Existential phenomenologists hold that the two most basic forms of intelligent behavior, learning, and skillful action, can be described and explained without recourse to mind or brain representations. This claim is expressed in two central notions in Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception: the intentional arc and the tendency to achieve a maximal grip. The intentional arc names the tight connection between body and world, such that, as the active body acquires skills, those skills are stored, not as representations in the mind, (...) but as dispositions to respond to the solicitations of situations in the world. A phenomenology of skill acquisition confirms that, as one acquires expertise, the acquired know-how is experienced as finer and finer discriminations of situations paired with the appropriate response to each. Maximal grip names the body's tendency to refine its responses so as to bring the current situation closer to an optimal gestalt. Thus, successful learning and action do not require propositional mental representations. They do not require semantically interpretable brain representations either.Simulated neural networks exhibit crucial structural features of the intentional arc, and Walter Freeman's account of the brain dynamics underlying perception and action is structurally isomorphic with Merleau-Ponty's account of the way a skilled agent is led by the situation to move towards obtaining a maximal grip. (shrink)
Does thought have distinctive experiential features? Is there, in addition to sensory phenomenology, a kind of cognitive phenomenology--phenomenology of a cognitive or conceptual character? Leading philosophers of mind debate whether conscious thought has cognitive phenomenology and whether it is part of conscious perception and conscious emotion.
Cognitive phenomenology starts from something that has been obscured in much recent analytic philosophy: the fact that lived conscious experience isn’t just a matter of sensation or feeling, but is also cognitive in character, through and through. This is obviously true of ordinary human perceptual experience, and cognitive phenomenology is also concerned with something more exclusively cognitive, which we may call propositional meaning-experience: occurrent experience of linguistic representations as meaning something, for example, as this occurs in thinking or reading or (...) hearing others speak. One source of resistance to accepting this view has been a failure to distinguish sharply between cognitive content and cognitive-phenomenological content. (shrink)
This article presents two ways of contributing to the debate on cognitive phenomenology. First, it is argued that cognitive attitudes have a specific phenomenal character or attitudinal cognitive phenomenology and, second, an element in cognitive experiences is described, i.e., the horizon of possibilities, which arguably gives us more evidence for cognitive phenomenology views.
In their recent book Radicalizing Enactivism. Basic minds without content, Dan Hutto and Erik Myin make two important criticisms of what they call autopoietic enactivism. These two criticisms are that AE harbours tacit representationalists commitments and that it has too liberal a conception of cognition. Taking the latter claim as its main focus, this paper explores the theoretical underpinnings of AE in order to tease out how it might respond to H&M. In so doing it uncovers some reasons which not (...) only appear to warrant H&M’s initial claims but also seem to point to further uneasy tensions within the AE framework. The paper goes beyond H&M by tracing the roots of these criticisms and apparent tensions to phenomenology and the role it plays in AE’s distinctive conception of strong life-mind continuity. It is highlighted that this phenomenological dimension of AE contains certain unexamined anthropomorphic and anthropogenic leanings which do not sit comfortably within its wider commitment to life-mind continuity. In light of this analysis it is suggested that AE will do well to rethink this role or ultimately run the risk of remaining theoretically unstable. The paper aims to contribute to the ongoing theoretical development of AE by highlighting potential internal tensions within its framework which need to be addressed in order for it to continue to evolve as a coherent paradigm. (shrink)
In recent years, more and more people have started talking about the necessity of reconciling phenomenology with the project of naturalization. Is it possible to bridge the gap between phenomenological analyses and naturalistic models of consciousness? Is it possible to naturalize phenomenology? Given the transcendental philosophically motivated anti-naturalism found in many phenomenologists such a naturalization proposal might seem doomed from the very start, but in this paper I will examine and evaluate some possible alternatives.
Experientialist semantics has contributed to a broader notion of linguistic meaning by emphasizing notions such as construal, perspective, metaphor, and embodiment, but has suffered from an individualist concept of meaning and has conflated experiential motivations with conventional semantics. We argue that these problems can be redressed by methods and concepts from phenomenology, on the basis of a case study of sentences of non-actual motion such as “The mountain range goes all the way from Mexico to Canada.” Through a phenomenological reanalysis (...) of proposals of Talmy, Langacker, and Matlock, we show that non-actual motion is both experientially and linguistically non-unitary. At least three different features of human consciousness—enactive perception, visual scanning, and imagination—constitute experiential motivations for non-actual motion sentences, and each of these could be related to phenomenological analyses of human intentionality. The second problem is addressed by proposing that the experiential motivations of non-actual motion sentences can be viewed as sedimented through “passive” processes of acquisition and social transmission and that this implies an interactive loop between experience and language, yielding losses in terms of original experience, but gains in terms of communal signification. Something that is underestimated by phenomenology is that what is sedimented are not only intentional objects such as states of affairs, but aspects of how they are given, i.e., the original, temporal, bodily experiences themselves. Since cognitive semantics has emphasized such aspects of meaning, we suggest that phenomenology can itself benefit from experientialist semantics, especially when it turns its focus from prepredicative to predicative, linguistic intentionality. (shrink)
How does mental content feature in conscious thought? I first argue that for a thought to be conscious the content of that thought must conscious, and that one has to appeal to cognitive phenomenology to give an adequate account of what it is for the content of a thought to be conscious. Sensory phenomenology cannot do the job. If one claims that the content of a conscious thought is unconscious, one is really claiming that there is no such thing as (...) conscious thought. So one must either accept that there is such a thing as cognitive phenomenology, or deny the existence of conscious thought. Once it is clear that conscious thought requires cognitive phenomenology, there is a pressing question about the exact relationship between a thought’s cognitive phenomenological properties and its content. I conclude with a discussion of the nature of this relationship. (shrink)
Recent discussions of phenomenal consciousness have taken increased interest in the existence and scope of non-sensory types of phenomenology, notably so-called cognitive phenomenology. These discussions have been largely restricted, however, to the question of the existence of such a phenomenology. Little attention has been given to the character of cognitive phenomenology: what in fact is it like to engage in conscious cognitive activity? This paper offers an approach to this question. Focusing on the prototypical cognitive activity of making a judgment (...) that p, it proposes a characterization in terms of a Ramsey sentence comprised of twenty-three phenomenological platitudes about what it is like to make a judgment. (shrink)
What is it like to be a good person? I examine and reject suggestions that this will involve having thoughts which have virtue or being a good person as part of their content, as well as suggestions that it might be the presence of feelings distinct from the virtuous person’s thoughts. Is there, then, anything after all to the phenomenology of virtue? I suggest that an answer is to be found in looking to Aristotle’s suggestion that virtuous activity is pleasant (...) to the virtuous person. I try to do this, using the work of the contemporary social psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi and his work on the ‘flow experience’. Crucial here is the point that I consider accounts of virtue which take it to have the structure of a practical expertise or skill. It is when we are most engaged in skilful complex activity that the activity is experienced as ‘unimpeded’, in Aristotle’s terms, or as ‘flow’. This experience does not, as might at first appear, preclude thoughtful involvement and reflection. Although we can say what in general the phenomenology of virtue is like, each of us only has some more or less dim idea of it from the extent to which we are virtuous—that is, for most of us, not very much. (shrink)
It is commonly believed that Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), well known as the founder of phenomenology and as the teacher of Heidegger, was unable to free himself from the framework of a classical metaphysics of subjectivity. Supposedly, he never abandoned the view that the world and the Other are constituted by a pure transcendental subject, and his thinking in consequence remains Cartesian, idealistic, and solipsistic. The continuing publication of Husserl’s manuscripts has made it necessary to revise such an interpretation. Drawing upon (...) both Husserl’s published works and posthumous material, Husserl’s Phenomenology incorporates the results of the most recent Husserl research. It is divided into three parts, roughly following the chronological development of Husserl’s thought, from his early analyses of logic and intentionality, through his mature transcendental-philosophical analyses of reduction and constitution, to his late analyses of intersubjectivity and lifeworld. It can consequently serve as a concise and updated introduction to his thinking. (shrink)
Research on the phenomenology of agency for joint action has so far focused on the sense of agency and control in joint action, leaving aside questions on how it feels to act together. This paper tries to fill this gap in a way consistent with the existing theories of joint action and shared emotion. We first reconstruct Pacherie’s account on the phenomenology of agency for joint action, pointing out its two problems, namely the necessary trade-off between the sense of self- (...) and we-agency; and the lack of affective phenomenology of joint action in general. After elaborating on these criticisms based on our theory of shared emotion, we substantiate the second criticism by discussing different mechanisms of shared affect—feelings and emotions—that are present in typical joint actions. We show that our account improves on Pacherie’s, first by introducing our agentive model of we-agency to overcome her unnecessary dichotomy between a sense of self- and we-agency, and then by suggesting that the mechanisms of shared affect enhance not only the predictability of other agents’ actions as Pacherie highlights, but also an agentive sense of we-agency that emerges from shared emotions experienced in the course and consequence of joint action. (shrink)
Emotions and bodily feelings -- Existential feelings -- The phenomenology of touch -- Body and world -- Feeling and belief in the Capgras delusion -- Feelings of deadness and depersonalization -- Existential feeling in schizophrenia -- What William James really said -- Stance, feeling, and belief -- Pathologies of existential feeling.
The article examines some of the main theses about self-awareness developed in recent analytic philosophy of mind (especially the work of Bermúdez), and points to a number of striking overlaps between these accounts and the ones to be found in phenomenology. Given the real risk of unintended repetitions, it is argued that it would be counterproductive for philosophy of mind to ignore already existing resources, and that both analytical philosophy and phenomenology would profit from a more open exchange.
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
In this short paper, I argue that the phenomenology of moral judgment is not unified across different areas of morality (involving harm, hierarchy, reciprocity, and impurity) or even across different relations to harm. Common responses, such as that moral obligations are experienced as felt demands based on a sense of what is fitting, are either too narrow to cover all moral obligations or too broad to capture anything important and peculiar to morality. The disunity of moral phenomenology is, nonetheless, compatible (...) with some uses of moral phenomenology for moral epistemology and with the objectivity and justifiability of parts of morality. (shrink)
The topic of this paper is phenomenology. How should we think of phenomenology – the discipline or activity of investigating experience itself – if phenomenology is to be a genuine source of knowledge? This is related to the question whether phenomenology can make a contribution to the empirical study of human or animal experience. My own view is that it can. But only if we make a fresh start in understanding what phenomenology is and can be.
This paper will seek firstly to understand Deleuze’s main challenges to phenomenology, particularly as they are expressed in The Logic of Sense and What is Philosophy?, although reference will also be made to Pure Immanence and Difference and Repetition. We will then turn to a discussion of one of the few passages in which Deleuze directly engages with Merleau-Ponty, which occurs in the chapter on art in What is Philosophy? In this text, he and Guattari offer a critique of what (...) they call the “final avatar” of phenomenology – that is, the “fleshism” that Merleau-Ponty proposes in his unfinished but justly famous work, The Visible and the Invisible. It will be argued that both Deleuze’s basic criticisms of phenomenology, as well as he and Guattari’s problems with the concept of the flesh, do not adequately come to grips with Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy. Merleau-Ponty is not obviously partisan to what Deleuze finds problematic in this tradition, despite continuing to identify himself as a phenomenologist, and is working within a surprisingly similar framework in certain key respects. In fact, in the more positive part of this paper, we will compare Merleau-Ponty’s notion of flesh, and Deleuze’s equally infamous univocity of being, as a means to consider the broader question of the ways in which the two philosophers consider ontological thought, its meaning and its conditions. It is our belief that through properly understanding both positions, a rapprochement, or at least the foundation for one, can be established between these two important thinkers. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes between two senses of the term “ phenomenology ”: a narrow sense and a broader sense. It claims, with particular reference to the moral sphere, that the narrow meaning of moral phenomenology cannot stand alone, that is, that moral phenomenology in the narrow sense entails moral intentionality. The paper proceeds by examining different examples of the axiological and volitional experiences of both virtuous and dutiful agents, and it notes the correlation between the phenomenal and intentional differences belonging (...) to these experiences. The paper concludes with some reflections on how the focus on the broader sense of “ phenomenology ” serves to provide a more precise sense of what we might mean by “ moral phenomenology.”. (shrink)
Following an on-line dialogue with Dennett (Velmans, 2001) this paper examines the similarities and differences between heterophenomenology (HP) and critical phenomenology (CP), two competing accounts of the way that conscious phenomenology should be, and normally is incorporated into psychology and related sciences. Dennett’s heterophenomenology includes subjective reports of conscious experiences, but according to Dennett, first person conscious phenomena in the form of “qualia” such as hardness, redness, itchiness etc. have no real existence. Consequently, subjective reports about such qualia should be (...) understood as prescientific attempts to make sense of brain functioning that can be entirely understood in third person terms. I trace the history of this position in behaviourism (Watson, Skinner and Ryle) and early forms of physicalism and functionalism (Armstrong), and summarise some of the difficulties of this view. Critical phenomenology also includes a conventional, third person, scientific investigation of brain and behaviour that includes subjects’ reports of what they experience. CP is also cautious about the accuracy or completeness of subjective reports. However, unlike HP, CP does not assume that subjects are necessarily deluded about their experiences or doubt that these experiences can have real qualities that can, in principle, be described. Such experienced qualities cannot be exhaustively reduced to third-person accounts of brain and behaviour. CP is also reflexive, in it assumes experimenters to have first-person experiences that they can describe much as their subjects do. And crucially, experimenter’s third-person reports of others are based, in the first instance, on their own first-person experiences. CP is commonplace in psychological science, and given that it conforms both to scientific practice and common sense, I argue that there is little to recommend HP other than an attempt to shore up a counterintuitive, reductive philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the what, the how, and the why of moral phenomenology. I consider first the question What is moral phenomenology?, secondly the question How to pursue moral phenomenology?, and thirdly the question Why pursue moral phenomenology? My treatment of these questions is preliminary and tentative, and is meant not so much to settle them as to point in their answers’ direction.
Can phenomenology contribute to the burgeoning science of consciousness? Dennett’s reply would probably be that it very much depends upon the type of phenomenology in question. In my paper I discuss the relation between Dennett’s heterophenomenology and the type of classical philosophical phenomenology that one can find in Husserl, Scheler and Merleau-Ponty. I will in particular be looking at Dennett’s criticism of classical phenomenology. How vulnerable is it to Dennett’s criticism, and how much of a challenge does his own alternative (...) constitute? I will argue that there are some rather marked differences between these two approaches to consciousness, but as I also hope to make clear, Dennett’s own account of where the differences are located is off target and ultimately based on a somewhat flawed conception of what classical phenomenology amounts to. (shrink)
There are two main approaches in the phenomenological understanding of the unconscious. The first explores the intentional theory of the unconscious, while the second develops a non-representational way of understanding consciousness and the unconscious. This paper aims to outline a general theoretical framework for the non-representational approach to the unconscious within the phenomenological tradition. In order to do so, I focus on three relevant theories: Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception, Thomas Fuchs’ phenomenology of body memory, and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology of (...) affectivity. Both Merleau-Ponty and Fuchs understand the unconscious as a “sedimented practical schema” of subjective being in the world. This sedimented unconscious contributes to the way we implicitly interpret reality, fill in the gaps of uncertainty, and invest our social interactions with meaning. Husserl, however, approaches the unconscious in terms of affective non-vivacity, as a sphere of sedimentation and the horizon of the distant past which stays affectively connected to the living present. Drawing on these ideas, I argue that these two accounts can reinforce one another and provide the ground for a phenomenological understanding of the unconscious in terms of the horizontal dimension of subjective experience and a non-representational relation to the past. (shrink)
“A Phenomenology of Seeing and Affect in a Polarized Climate,” focuses on the polarized political climate that reflects racial and class differences in the wake of the Trump election. She explores how to see differently about those with whom one disagrees—that is in this specific scenario for Lee, the Trump supporters, including Asian American members of her own family. Understanding Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s exploration of the interstice between the visible and the invisible, if human beings are to see otherwise, we need (...) to disrupt the ready association between the visible and the invisible. Here, she explores the function of affect for the possibility of this break. The phenomenological understanding of emotion does not necessarily empower emotion with any sort of superlative force, especially over reason. But a subject’s emotion chiasmatically reflects the world and vice versa. The caustic and strong emotions felt by people about this presidency reflects the entrenched political climate in our society and chiasmatically the entrenched political climate embroils people in strong emotions that make it difficult to see those with whom we disagree as people we can trust and consider reasonable. To break out of this standoff, to see differently about Trump supporters, one needs to feel differently about them as well. (shrink)
The Buddhists philosophers put forward a revisionary metaphysics which lacks a “self” in order to provide an intellectually and morally preferred picture of the world. The first task in the paper is to answer the question: what is the “self” that the Buddhists are denying? To answer this question, I look at the Abhidharma arguments for the No-Self doctrine and then work back to an interpretation of the self that is the target of such a doctrine. I argue that Buddhists (...) are not just denying the diachronically unified, extended, narrative self but also minimal selfhood insofar as it associated with sense of ownership and sense of agency. The view is deeply counterintuitive and the Buddhists are acutely aware of this fact. Accordingly, the Abhidharma-Buddhist writings are replete with attempts to explain the phenomenology of experience in a no-self world. The second part of the paper reconstructs the Buddhist explanation using resources from contemporary discussions about the sense of agency. (shrink)
Moral phenomenology is (roughly) the study of those features of occurrent mental states with moral significance which are accessible through direct introspection, whether or not such states possess phenomenal character – a what-it-is-likeness. In this paper, as the title indicates, we introduce and make prefatory remarks about moral phenomenology and its significance for ethics. After providing a brief taxonomy of types of moral experience, we proceed to consider questions about the commonality within and distinctiveness of such experiences, with an eye (...) on some of the main philosophical issues in ethics and how moral phenomenology might be brought to bear on them. In discussing such matters, we consider some of the doubts about moral phenomenology and its value to ethics that are brought up by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Michael Gill in their contributions to this issue. (shrink)
Many moral philosophers in the Western tradition have used phenomenological claims as starting points for philosophical inquiry; aspects of moral phenomenology have often been taken to be anchors to which any adequate account of morality must remain attached. This paper raises doubts about whether moral phenomena are universal and robust enough to serve the purposes to which moral philosophers have traditionally tried to put them. Persons’ experiences of morality may vary in a way that greatly limits the extent to which (...) moral phenomenology can constitute a reason to favor one moral theory over another. Phenomenology may not be able to serve as a pre-theoretic starting point or anchor in the consideration of rival moral theories because moral phenomenology may itself be theory-laden. These doubts are illustrated through an examination of how moral phenomenology is used in the thought of Ralph Cudworth, Samuel Clarke, Joseph Butler, Francis Hutcheson, and Søren Kierkegaard. (shrink)
The duration of “now” is shown to be important not only for an understanding of how conscious beings sense duration, but also for the validity of the phenomenological enterprise as Husserl conceived it. If “now” is too short, experiences can not be described before they become memories, which can be considered to be transcendent rather than immanent phenomena and therefore inadmissible as phenomenological data. Evidence concerning (a) the objective duration of sensations in various sensory modalities, (b) the time necessary for (...) sensations to enter consciousness and (c) the variability in the subjective sense of time's passing under different conditions is used to conclude that the duration of “now” can actually vary under normal conditions from about 10 ms to several seconds and in extreme cases up to several hours. Thus the immanent moment can be long enough to encompass a report of the contents of consciousness, making phenomenology a viable project. A further speculation from the evidence described is that consciousness takes discrete samples of the external world, at a rate inversely proportional to the duration of the “now” moment. (shrink)
This chapter uses one particular proposal for interdisciplinary collaboration – in this case, between early Heideggerian phenomenology and enactivist cognitive science – as an example of how such partnerships may confront and negotiate tensions between the perspectives they bring together. The discussion begins by summarising some of the intersections that render Heideggerian and enactivist thought promising interlocutors for each other. It then moves on to explore how Heideggerian enactivism could respond to the challenge of reconciling the significant differences in the (...) ways that each discourse seeks to apply the structures it claims to uncover. (shrink)
An account of the source of ﬁrst-person knowledge is essential not just for phenomenology, but for anyone who takes seriously the apparent evidence that we each have a distinctive access to knowing what we experience. One standard way to account for the source of ﬁrst-person knowledge is by appeal to a kind of inner observation of the passing contents of one’s own mind, and phenomenology is often thought to rely on introspection. I argue, however, that Husserl’s method of phenomenological reduction (...) was designed precisely to ﬁnd a route to knowledge of the structures of consciousness that was independent of any appeal to observation of one’s own mental states. The goals of this essay are to explicate Husserl’s method of phenomenological reduction in contemporary terms that (1) show its distance from all inner-observation accounts, (2) exhibit its kinship to and historical inﬂuence on outer-observation accounts of selfknowledge popularized by Sellars, and (3) demonstrate that a contemporary ‘cognitive transformation’ view based on Husserl’s method may provide a viable contribution to contemporary debates about the source of self-knowledge. (shrink)
In the attempt to construct a scientific approach to consciousness, it has been proposed that transcendental phenomenology or phenomenological psychology be introduced into the framework of cognitive neuroscience. In this article, the consequences of such an approach in terms of basic assumptions, methods for the collection of data, and evaluation of the collected data are discussed. Especially, the proposed notions of mutual constraint and the second perso are discussed. It is concluded that even though naturalising of phenomenology might not prove (...) impossible, the projec has not yet found a coherent basic ground. (shrink)
Social psychologists often describe “implicit” racial biases as entirely unconscious, and as mere associations between groups and traits, which lack intentional content, e.g., we associate “black” and “athletic” in much the same way we associate “salt” and “pepper.” However, recent empirical evidence consistently suggests that individuals are aware of their implicit biases, albeit in partial, inarticulate, or even distorted ways. Moreover, evidence suggests that implicit biases are not “dumb” semantic associations, but instead reflect our skillful, norm-sensitive, and embodied engagement with (...) social reality. This essay draws on phenomenological and hermeneutic methods and concepts to better understand what social-psychological research has begun to reveal about the conscious access individuals have to their own racial attitudes, as well as the intentional contents of the attitudes themselves. -/- First, I argue that implicit racial biases form part of the “background” of social experience. That is, while they exert a pervasive influence on our perceptions, judgments, and actions, they are frequently felt but not noticed, or noticed but misinterpreted. Second, I argue that our unreflective racial attitudes are neither mere associations nor fully articulated, propositionally structured beliefs or emotions. Their intentional contents are fundamentally indeterminate. For example, when a white person experiences a “gut feeling” of discomfort during an interaction with a black person, there is a question about the meaning or nature of that discomfort. Is it a fear of black people? Is it anxiety about appearing racist? There is, I argue, no general, determinate answer to such questions. The contents of our unreflective racial attitudes are fundamentally vague and open-ended, although I explain how they nevertheless take on particular shapes and implications—that is, their content can become determinate—depending on context, social meaning, and structural power relations. (If, for example, a perceived authority figure, such as a politician, parent, or scientist, encourages you to believe that your uncomfortable gut feeling is a justified fear of other social groups, then that is what your gut feeling is likely to become.). (shrink)
In this paper I trace Husserl’s transformation of his notion of phantasy from its strong leanings towards empiricism into a transcendental phenomenology of imagination. Rejecting the view that this account is only more incompatible with contemporary neuroscientific research, I instead claim that the transcendental suspension of naturalistic (or scientific) pretensions precisely enables cooperation between the two distinct realms of phenomenology and science. In particular, a transcendental account of phantasy can disclose the specific accomplishments of imagination without prematurely deciding upon a (...) particular scientific paradigm for its experimental investigation; a decision that is best left to the sciences themselves. (shrink)
Dennett’s contrast between auto- and hetero-phenomenology is badly drawn, primarily because Dennett identifies phenomenologists as introspective psychologists. The contrast I draw between phenomenology and hetero-phenomenology is not in terms of the difference between a first-person, introspective perspective and a third-person perspective but rather in terms of the difference between two third-person accounts – a descriptive phenomenology and an explanatory psychology – both of which take the first-person perspective into account.
This paper aims to address the relevance of the natural sciences for transcendental phenomenology, that is, the issue of naturalism. The first section distinguishes three varieties of naturalism and corresponding forms of naturalization: an ontological one, a methodological one, and an epistemological one. In light of these distinctions, in the second section, I examine the main projects aiming to “naturalize phenomenology”: neurophenomenology, front-loaded phenomenology, and formalized approaches to phenomenology. The third section then considers the commitments of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology with (...) respect to the three varieties of naturalism previously discussed. I argue that Husserl rejected strong and weak forms of epistemological naturalism, strong methodological naturalism, and ontological naturalism. The fourth section presents the argument that Husserl endorsed a weak, conditional form of methodological naturalism. This point is illustrated with Husserl’s proposal of “somatology,” a natural science apt to study the corporeality of the lived body. The final section addresses the complementarity and respective limits of the transcendental phenomenological and the natural scientific frameworks. I argue that, on Husserl’s account, the function of transcendental phenomenology with respect to the natural sciences is to provide them with an epistemological foundation and an ontological clarification. I suggest that certain natural sciences can be understood, within the transcendental phenomenological framework, as “sciences of constitution,” that is, as sciences investigating the contribution of real structures acting as conditions of possibility for the occurrence of certain kinds of comprehensive unities in lived experience. (shrink)
The tradition of realist phenomenology was founded in around 1902 by a group of students in Munich interested in the newly published Logical Investigations of Edmund Husserl. Initial members of the group included Johannes Daubert, Alexander Pfänder, Adolf Reinach and Max Scheler. With Reinach’s move to Göttingen the group acquired two new prominent members – Edith Stein and Roman Ingarden. The group’s method turned on Husserl’s idea that we are in possession a priori (which is to say: non-inductive) knowledge of (...) entities (for example, colors, tones, values, shapes) of a range of different sorts. Pfänder applied this method in his descriptive psychology of willing and motivation, Reinach (anticipating the later speech act theory) to what he called ‘social acts’, Stein to the ontology of communities, and Ingarden to works of art and aesthetic phenomena. The movement latter, through Ingarden, lived on in Poland, where it influenced the young Karol Wojtyła. (shrink)
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitive science concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended from the work (...) of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
Phenomenology, perhaps more than any other single movement in philosophy, has been key in bringing emotions to the foreground of philosophical consideration. This is in large part due to the ways in which emotions, according to phenomenological analyses, are revealing of basic structures of human existence. Indeed, it is partly and, according to some phenomenologists, even primarily through our emotions that the world is disclosed to us, that we become present to and make sense of ourselves, and that we relate (...) to and engage with others. A phenomenological study of emotions is thus meant not only to help us to understand ourselves, but also to allow us to see and to make sense of the meaningfulness of our worldly and social existence.Within the last few decades, the emotions have re-emerged more generally as a topic of great philosophical interest and importance. Philosophers, along with psychologists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists have engaged in inter- and intra-disciplina .. (shrink)
This paper seeks firstly to understand Deleuze’s main challenges to phenomenology, particularly as they are expressed in The Logic of Sense and Difference and Repetition. We then turn to a discussion of one of the few passages in which Deleuze and Guattari directly engage with Merleau-Ponty, which occurs in the chapter on art in What is Philosophy? In this text, he and Guattari offer a critique of what they call the “final avatar” of phenomenology – that is, the “fleshism” that (...) Merleau- Ponty proposes in his unfinished but justly famous work, The Visible and the Invisible. We argue that both Deleuze’s basic criticisms of phenomenology, as well as he and Guattari’s problems with the concept of the flesh, do not adequately come to grips with Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy. Merleau-Ponty is not obviously partisan to what Deleuze finds problematic in this tradition, despite continuing to identify himself as a phenomenologist, and is working within a surprisingly similar framework in certain key respects. In fact, in the more positive part of this paper, we compare Merleau-Ponty’s notion of flesh, and Deleuze’s equally infamous univocity of being, as a means to consider the broader question of the ways in which the two philosophers consider ontological thought, its meaning and its conditions. It is our argument that through properly understanding both positions, a rapprochement, or at least the foundation for one, can be established between these two important thinkers. (shrink)
The recent move to naturalize phenomenology through a mathematical protocol is a significant advance in consciousness research. It enables a new and fruitful level of dialogue between the cognitive sciences and phenomenology of such a nuanced kind that it also prompts advancement in our phenomenological analyses. But precisely what is going on at this point of ‘dialogue’ between phenomenological descriptions and mathematical algorithms, the latter of which are based on dynamical systems theory? It will be shown that what is happening (...) is something more than a mere ‘passing of the baton’ from phenomenology to mathematics. For this sophisticated naturalization to prove a worthy endeavour it must produce more than just correlation, it must prove some form of interrelation to the extent that phenomenology is deterministic. But such interrelational and deterministic requirements are the start of a slippery slope, and it will be argued that this slope only loses more friction once a further demand of formal and precise descriptions is made of phenomenology. Such deterministic and formally precise demands misconstrue phenomenology’s ideal goal of a unification of genuine/originary reason and truth. Not a deductive and definitive discipline, phenomenology is rather from the outset descriptive and critical. Phenomenology’s descriptive beginnings will thus be employed as an essential barrier to the naturalization of phenomenology. (shrink)
This work is best described as an endeavour to contribute to the phenomenology of intentions, the experiences of intending to do something. It finds its point of departure in the discussion of two ‘analytic philosophers’, John Searle and John McDowell, where two contrasting accounts of intentions are offered. The first task is to derive a hybrid account, according to which there are different kinds of intentions, each having the property of being a potential continuant with prior- and in-action phases. The (...) remainder of the discussion is a phenomenological justification of the hybrid account. Through a critical engagement with work of the classical phenomenologists, descriptions are advanced towards the end of demonstrating that the genus intention splits into the species projecting and willing and that each instantiates the property of being a potential continuant with prior- and in-action phases. This work does not offer a complete justification of the hybrid account; rather, the discussion culminates with the articulation of a concrete phenomenological problem, the answer to which is a condition for the evaluation of the phenomenological merit of the hybrid account. This problem functions as an invitation for other phenomenologists to return to thing themselves and engage in concrete phenomenological work. (shrink)
This essay demonstrates that Beauvoir's La Vieillesse is a phenomenological study of old age indebted to Husserl's phenomenology of the body. Beauvoir's depiction of the doubling in the lived experience of the elderly--a division between outsiders' awareness of the elderly's decline and the elderly's own inner understanding of old age--serves as a specific illustration of Beauvoir's particular method of description and analysis.
A close reading of the final chapter of Hegel's Phenomenology, with special attention to phenomenological method, to the structure of overcomings and preservations that makes for the integrated totality of the ascent to the absolute, to the determinate negations that bind ch.s 6c on Objective Spirit and 7c on Revealed Religion to one another and to ch. 8 on Absolute Spirit, and to the relations of the absolute standpoint to time and to history.
In this paper, I argue that the negative injunctions against certain ways of conceiving of the ethico-political that we can draw explicitly from the methodological strictures of phenomenology are also consistent with some of the core more positive dimensions of contemporary virtue ethics (especially at the more anti-theoretical end of the virtue ethical spectrum), and that central aspects of virtue ethics are consistent with most of the explicit reflections on ethical matters proffered by canonical phenomenologists.
This paper argues that Heidegger's phenomenology of boredom in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude (1983) could be a promising addition to the ‘toolbox’ of scientists investigating conscious experience. We describe Heidegger's methodological principles and show how he applies these in describing three forms of boredom. Each form is shown to have two structural moments – being held in limbo and being left empty – as well as a characteristic relation to passing the time. In our conclusion, we (...) suggest specific ways in which Heidegger's phenomenological description can be used in scientific investigations of boredom. (shrink)