"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)
Dans cette conférence de 1996, Francisco Varela tente d'établir une homologie formelle entre l'émergence cognitive dans le monde du vivant et celle propre au monde social. Texte retranscrit par Christiane Peyron-Bonjan, soumis au conférencier et corrigé par ses soins. 1. Introduction Je vous remercie de votre invitation à faire une communication ici. Il y a une semaine, à Londres, j'ai participé à un colloque homologue, intitulé « Complexity and Strategy » organisé par le Santa Fe Institute for the - (...) Biologie. (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)
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 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)
Different explanations of color vision favor different philosophical positions: Computational vision is more compatible with objectivism (the color is in the object), psychophysics and neurophysiology with subjectivism (the color is in the head). Comparative research suggests that an explanation of color must be both experientialist (unlike objectivism) and ecological (unlike subjectivism). Computational vision's emphasis on optimally prespecified features of the environment (i.e., distal properties, independent of the sensory-motor capacities of the animal) is unsatisfactory. Conceiving of visual perception instead as the (...) visual guidance of activity in an environment that is determined largely by that very activity suggests new directions for research. (shrink)
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)
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.
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)
This paper is devoted to the study of some subvarieties of the variety Qof Q-Heyting algebras, that is, Heyting algebras with a quantifier. In particular, a deeper investigation is carried out in the variety Q 3 of three-valued Q-Heyting algebras to show that the structure of the lattice of subvarieties of Qis far more complicated that the lattice of subvarieties of Heyting algebras. We determine the simple and subdirectly irreducible algebras in Q 3 and we construct the lattice of subvarieties (...) (Q 3 ) of the variety Q 3. (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.
Response to the Commentary on ‘The View from Within’ The numerous commentators to this Special Issue have greatly enhanced its focus and usefulness. We thank them all very sincerely for their efforts. Within the restricted space of this rejoinder we cannot respond in detail to all the issues raised. Instead, we shall concentrate first on some fundamental criticisms.The remaining additions and complementary ideas will only be touched on briefly, merely to see them in perspective. We shall start with our two (...) main critics of the global enterprise, Baars and Nixon. They both offer arguments that our enterprise is misguided, but their arguments fall on two opposite extremes: empirical and hermeneutical. (shrink)
Some major leftist thinkers, including Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek and Terry Eagleton, have lately offered readings that claim the relevance of alternative interpretations of the Christian tradition in the face both of the conservative turn in the Catholic Church and of the contemporary secular oblivion of anything that has to do with religion. Furthermore, post-colonial studies have tended to blame the West en bloc for the disasters of past and present colonization, and have attacked the western endeavour to extend universal (...) truths as an ethnocentric device to facilitate and justify exploitation.In Holy Terror, Terry Eagleton both condemns western politics and questions its appeal to universals; but he also hears in this tradition a demand for a relationship with the other which offers an alternative to that established by current politics and capitalist exploitation. The other is the excluded, the oppressed, the exploited; the true material, rather than ideal, universal produced by global capitalist exploitation. As a consequence, anything that happens in any part of the planet belongs in our world and indicts us, though we tend to build barriers around an ideally safe and stable identity that ignores part of its own reality and that is therefore haunted by it. Texts like the Bacchae or the New Testament open the gates of the city and of the heart to the excluded. Terrorists — saints for their own communities and satanic for the rest — offer an example of the other that is impossible to comprehend within our conventional ways of life. Nevertheless, only if we hear in their violence a demand for justice can an exit be found from the vicious circle of violence and revenge. (shrink)