"Knowing how we know" is the subject of this book. Its authors present a new view of cognition that has important social and ethical implications, for, they assert, the only world we humans can have is the one we create together through the actions of our coexistence. Written for a general audience as well as for students, scholars, and scientists and abundantly illustrated with examples from biology, linguistics, and new social and cultural phenomena, this revised edition includes a new afterword (...) by Dr. Varela, in which he discusses the effect the book has had in the years since its first publication. (shrink)
This paper proposes a basic revision of the understanding of teleology in biological sciences. Since Kant, it has become customary to view purposiveness in organisms as a bias added by the observer; the recent notion of teleonomy expresses well this as-if character of natural purposes. In recent developments in science, however, notions such as self-organization (or complex systems) and the autopoiesis viewpoint, have displaced emergence and circular self-production as central features of life. Contrary to an often superficial reading, Kant gives (...) a multi-faceted account of the living, and anticipates this modern reading of the organism, even introducing the term self-organization for the first time. Our re-reading of Kant in this light is strengthened by a group of philosophers of biology, with Hans Jonas as the central figure, who put back on center stage an organism-centered view of the living, an autonomous center of concern capable of providing an interior perspective. Thus, what is present in nuce in Kant, finds a convergent development from this current of philosophy of biology and the scientific ideas around autopoeisis, two independent but parallel developments culminating in the 1970s. Instead of viewing meaning or value as artifacts or illusions, both agree on a new understanding of a form of immanent teleology as truly biological features, inevitably intertwined with the self-establishment of an identity which is the living process. (shrink)
How can science be brought to connect with experience? This book addresses two of the most challenging problems facing contemporary neurobiology and cognitive science. Firstly, understanding how we unconsciously execute habitual actions as a result of neurological and cognitive processes that are not formal actions of conscious judgment but part of a habitual nexus of systematic self-organization. Secondly, attempting to create an ethics adequate to our present awareness that there is no such thing as a transcendental self, a stable subject (...) or soul. The author combines researches in cognitive science and phenomenology with two representatives of what he calls the 'wisdom traditions': Confucianism and Buddhist epistemology. (shrink)
This paper responds to the issues raised by D. Chalmers by offering a research direction which is quite radical because of the way in which methodological principles are linked to scientific studies of consciousness. Neuro-phenomenology is the name I use here to designate a quest to marry modern cognitive science and a disciplined approach to human experience, thereby placing myself in the lineage of the continental tradition of Phenomenology. My claim is that the so-called hard problem that animates these Special (...) Issues can only be addressed productively by gathering a research community armed with new pragmatic tools for the development of a science of consciousness. I will claim that no piecemeal empirical correlates, nor purely theoretical principles, will really help us at this stage. We need to turn to a systematic exploration of the only link between mind and consciousness that seems both obvious and natural: the structure of human experience itself.In what follows I motivate my choice by briefly examining the current debate about consciousness at the light of Chalmer’s hard problem. Next, I outline the phenomenological strategy. Finally I conclude by discussing some of the main difficulties and consequences of this strategy. (shrink)
The study of conscious experience per se has not kept pace with the dramatic advances in PET, fMRI and other brain-scanning technologies. If anything, the standard approaches to examining the 'view from within' involve little more than cataloguing its readily accessible components. Thus the study of lived subjective experience is still at the level of Aristotelian science, leading to a widespread scepticism over the possibility of a truly scientific study of conscious experience. Drawing on a wide range of approaches -- (...) from phenomenology to meditation -- The View From Within examines the possibility of a disciplined approach to the study of subjective states. The focus is on the practical issues involved. (shrink)
My purpose in this article is to propose an explicitly naturalized account of the experience of present nowness on the basis of two complementary sources: phenomenological analysis and cognitive neuroscience. What I mean by naturalization, and the role cognitive neuroscience plays will become clear as the paper unfolds, but the main intention is to use the consciousness of present time as a study case for the phenomenological framework presented by Depraz in this Special Issue.
This paper represents a step in the analysis of the key, but much-neglected role of affect and emotions as the originary source of the living present, as a foundational dimension of the moment-to-moment emergence of consciousness. In a more general sense, we may express the question in the following terms: there seems to be a growing consensus from various sources -- philosophical, empirical and clinical -- that emotions cannot be seen as a mere 'coloration' of the cognitive agent, understood as (...) a formal or un-affected self, but are immanent and inextricable from every mental act. How can this be borne out, beyond just announcing it? Specifically, what is the role of affect-emotion in the self-movement of the flow, of the. (shrink)
e argue that phenomenology can be of central and positive importance to the cognitive sciences, and that it can also learn from the empirical research conducted in those sciences. We discuss the project of naturalizing phenomenology and how this can be best accomplished. We provide several examples of how phenomenology and the cognitive sciences can integrate their research. Specifically, we consider issues related to embodied cognition and intersubjectivity. We provide a detailed analysis of issues related to time-consciousness, with reference to (...) understanding schizophrenia and the loss of the sense of agency. We offer a positive proposal to address these issues based on a neurobiological dynamic-systems model. (shrink)
Lifelines provides a useful corrective to “ultra-Darwinism” but it is marred by its failure to cite its scientific predecessors. Rose's argument could have been strengthened by taking greater account of the theory of autopoiesis in biology and of enactive cognitive science.
The target article concludes that it is essential to introduce the personal level in cognitive science. We propose to take this conclusion one step further. The personal level should consist of first-person accounts of specific, contextualized experiences, not abstract or imagined cases. Exploring first-person accounts at their own level of detail calls for the refinements of method that can link up with neural accounts.