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8.5b. Verbal Reports and Heterophenomenology (Verbal Reports and Heterophenomenology on PhilPapers)

See also:
Adair, John G. & Spinner, Barry (1981). Subjects' access to cognitive processes: Demand characteristics and verbal report. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 11 (1):31–52.   (Google | More links)
Adams, William A. (2006). Transpersonal heterophenomenology? Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (4):89-93.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: Anthony Freeman's article on transpersonal psychology cited Jorge Ferrer's criticism that while the field claims to be non-dualistic or 'post-Cartesian' (no subject -object or mind-body split), it is nevertheless hopelessly dualistic. . .Freeman proposes a way of salvation for transpersonal psychology by invoking Daniel Dennettapos;s concept of heterophenomenology, which is a third-person investigation of someone elseapos;s first-person experience (as reported). . .Freeman's proposal is a fine demonstration of lateral thinking, calling upon atheist Dennett in support of transpersonal and religious inquiry. Unfortunately, it is a solution analogous to searching for lost keys under the lamppost where the light is better
Albahari, Miri (2002). Can heterophenomenology ground a complete science of consciousness? Noetica.   (Google)
Beenfeldt, Christian (2008). A philosophical critique of heterophenomenology. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (8):5-34.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper Dennett's method of heterophenomenology is discussed. After a brief explanation of the method, three arguments in support of it are considered in turn. First, the argument from the possibility of error and self-delusion of the subject is found to ignore the panoply of intermediate position that one can take with regard to the epistemic status of first-personal knowledge. The argument is also criticized for employing an epistemic double-standard. Second, the argument from the neutrality of heterophenomenology is found to be defeated by the fact that, contrary to Dennett's claims, third-person, functionalist and instrumentalist assumptions substantially underpin and inform the method. Similarities between heterophenomenology and the Turing Test are furthermore explored, and it is shown that a weaker version of the neutrality claim also fails. Third, the argument from the appeal to the standard practice of science is shown to substantially rest on an equivocation on the term 'heterophenomenology' and is therefore rejected. Finally, it is suggested that the use of introspective reports is not inherently at odds with sound scientific procedures
Benoit, P. J. & Benoit, W. L. (1986). Consciousness: The mindlessness/mindfulness and verbal report controversies. Western Journal of Speech Communication 50:41-63.   (Google)
Bremer, Manuel (2006). Animal consciousness, anthromorphism and heterophenomenology. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 113 (2):397-410.   (Google)
Cytowic, Richard (2003). The clinician's paradox: Believing those you must not trust. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10.   (Google)
Dennett, Daniel C. (2007). Heterophenomenology reconsidered. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2).   (Google | More links)
Dennett, Daniel C. (1982). How to study human consciousness empirically, or, nothing comes to mind. Synthese 53 (2):159-80.   (Cited by 16 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Dennett, Daniel C. (2003). Who's on first? Heterophenomenology explained. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (9):19-30.   (Google)
Dienes, Zoltán (2004). Assumptions of subjective measures of unconscious mental states: Higher order thoughts and bias. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (9):25-45.   (Cited by 14 | Google)
Dokic, Jérôme & Pacherie, Elisabeth (2007). Too much ado about belief. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Three commitments guide Dennett’s approach to the study of consciousness. First, an ontological commitment to materialist monism. Second, a methodological commitment to what he calls ‘heterophenomenology.’ Third, a ‘doxological’ commitment that can be expressed as the view that there is no room for a distinction between a subject’s beliefs about how things seem to her and what things actually seem to her, or, to put it otherwise, as the view that there is no room for a reality/appearance distinction for consciousness. We investigate how Dennett’s third doxological commitment relates to his first two commitments and whether its acceptance should be seen as a mere logical consequence of acceptance of the first two. We will argue that this is not the case, that Dennett’s doxological commitment is in need of independent motivation, and that this independent motivation is not forthcoming
Dreyfus, Hubert L. & Kelly, Sean D. (2007). Heterophenomenology: Heavy-handed Sleight-of-hand. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):45-55.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: We argue that heterophenomenology both over- and under-populates the intentional realm. For example, when one is involved in coping, one’s mind does not contain beliefs. Since the heterophenomenologist interprets all intentional commitment as belief, he necessarily overgenerates the belief contents of the mind. Since beliefs cannot capture the normative aspect of coping and perceiving, any method, such as heterophenomenology, that allows for only beliefs is guaranteed not only to overgenerate beliefs but also to undergenerate other kinds of intentional phenomena
Ericsson, K. A. (2003). Valid and non-reactive verbalization of thoughts during performance of tasks - towards a solution to the central problems of introspection as a source of scientific data. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (9-10):1-18.   (Google)
Falk, Arthur E. (1975). Learning to report one's introspections. Philosophy of Science 42 (September):223-241.   (Google | More links)
Goldman, A. (2004). Epistemology and the evidential status of introspective reports I. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8):1-16.   (Google | More links)
Hartelius, G. (2006). All that glisters is not gold - heterophenomenology and transpersonal theory. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (6):63-77.   (Google)
Abstract: Anthony Freeman (2006) proposes that Dennett's heterophenomenology (HP) be fully integrated into transpersonal studies as a solution to the 'subtle Cartesianism' that Jorge Ferrer (2002) detects within the field. Methods virtually indistinguishable from HP are already in use within transpersonal research, so the issue of comparison lies deeper. On close analysis, Ferrer's approach cannot be situated within Dennett's (2003) data levels at all, for participatory transpersonalism conceives a profoundly different relationship between conscious subject and the world: a relational matrix of interacting subjects participating in the co- creation of the cosmos. HP, while valuable, is not adequate for a comprehensive study of consciousness. Its shortcomings can be illustrated by imagining an analogical discipline in the natural sciences: heterobotany. Limiting transpersonal inquiry to HP would represent a step backwards in the ongoing process of pioneering effective methods of consciousness research
Hurlburt, R. & Heavey, C. L. (2004). To beep or not to beep: Obtaining accurate reports about awareness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7):113-128.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Marcel, Anthony J. (2003). Introspective report - trust, self-knowledge and science. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (9-10):167-186.   (Google)
Marbach, Eduard (2007). No heterophenomenology without autophenomenology: Variations on a theme of mine. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The paper assumes that the very source for an appropriate concept formation and categorization of the phenomena of consciousness is provided by pre-reflectively living through one’s own experiences (of perceiving, remembering, imagining, picturing, judging, etc.) and reflecting upon them. It tries to argue that without reflective auto-phenomenological theorizing about such phenomena, there is no prospect for a scientific study of consciousness doing fully justice to the phenomena themselves. To substantiate the point, a detailed reflective and descriptive analysis of re-presentational experiences is presented, an essential property of which is their containing in themselves components that can only be individuated on the basis of reflection by the experiencing subject him- or herself. For heterophenomenology to account for them, autophenomenology is therefore presupposed
Marbach, Eduard (1994). Troubles with heterophenomenology. In Roberto Casati, B. Smith & Stephen L. White (eds.), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Holder-Pichler-Tempsky.   (Cited by 47 | Google)
Mcclure, John (1983). Telling more than they can know: The positivist account of verbal reports and mental processes. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 13 (1):111–128.   (Google | More links)
Nahmias, Eddy A. (2002). Verbal reports on the contents of consciousness: Reconsidering introspectionist methodology. Psyche 8 (21).   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Abstract: Doctors must now take a fifth vital sign from their patients: pain reports. I use this as a case study to discuss how different schools of psychology (introspectionism, behaviorism, cognitive psychology) have treated verbal reports about the contents of consciousness. After examining these differences, I suggest that, with new methods of mapping data about neurobiological states with behavioral data and with verbal reports about conscious experience, we should reconsider some of the introspectionists' goals and methods. I discuss examples from cognitive psychology, including pain researchers' attempts to develop self-reports of pain so that they can be, like other vital signs, reliable indicators of internal states.
Nisbett, Richard E. & Wilson, Timothy D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review 84:231-59.   (Cited by 2376 | Google | More links)
Overgaard, Morten (2001). The role of phenomenological reports in experiments on consciousness. Psycoloquy 12 (29):1-10.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Petitmengin, Claire (2006). Describing one's subjective experience in the second person: An interview method for the science of consciousness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (3-4).   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: This article presents an interview method which enables us to bring a person, who may not even have been trained, to become aware of his or her subjective experience, and describe it with great precision. It is focused on the difficulties of becoming aware of one’s subjective experience and describing it, and on the processes used by this interview technique to overcome each of these difficulties. The article ends with a discussion of the criteria governing the validity of the descriptions obtained, and then with a brief review of the functions of these descriptions
Piccinini, Gualtiero (2003). Data from introspective reports: Upgrading from common sense to science. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (9-10):141-156.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Introspective reports are used as sources of information about other minds, in both everyday life and science. Many scientists and philosophers consider this practice unjustified, while others have made the untestable assumption that introspection is a truthful method of private observation. I argue that neither skepticism nor faith concerning introspective reports are warranted. As an alternative, I consider our everyday, commonsensical reliance on each other’s introspective reports. When we hear people talk about their minds, we neither refuse to learn from nor blindly accept what they say. Sometimes we accept what we are told, other times we reject it, and still other times we take the report, revise it in light of what we believe, then accept the modified version. Whatever we do, we have (implicit) reasons for it. In developing a sound methodology for the scientific use of introspective reports, we can take our commonsense treatment of introspective reports and make it more explicit and rigorous. We can discover what to infer from introspective reports in a way similar to how we do it every day, but with extra knowledge, methodological care, and precision. Sorting out the use of introspective reports as sources of data is going to be a painstaking, piecemeal task, but it promises to enhance our science of the mind and brain.
Piccinini, Gualtiero (forthcoming). How to improve on heterophenomenology: The self-measurement methodology of first-person data. Journal of Consciousness Studies.   (Google)
Abstract: Heterophenomenology is a third-person methodology proposed by Daniel Dennett for using first-person reports as scientific evidence. I argue that heterophenomenology can be improved by making six changes: (i) setting aside consciousness, (ii) including other sources of first-person data besides first-person reports, (iii) abandoning agnosticism as to the truth value of the reports in favor of the most plausible assumptions we can make about what can be learned from the data, (iv) interpreting first-person reports (and other first-person behaviors) directly in terms of target mental states rather than in terms of beliefs about them, (v) dropping any residual commitment to incorrigibility of first-person reports, and (vi) recognizing that thirdperson methodology does have positive effects on scientific practices. When these changes are made, heterophenomenology turns into the self-measurement methodology of firstperson data that I have defended in previous papers.
Praetorius, Nini (2004). Intersubjectivity of cognition and language: Principled reasons why the subject may be Trusted. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (2):195-214.   (Google | More links)
Abstract:   The paper aims to show that scepticism concerning the status of first-person reports of mental states and their use as evidence in scientific cognitive research is unfounded. Rather, principled arguments suggest that the conditions for the intersubjectivity of cognition and description of publicly observable things apply equally for our cognition and description of our mental or internal states. It is argued that on these conditions relies the possibility of developing well-defined scientific criteria for distinguishing between first-person and third-person cognition and description. The paper concludes by outlining the consequences for cognitive research and for functional theories of mind
Radner, Daisie M. (1994). Heterophenomenology: Learning about the birds and the bees. Journal of Philosophy 91 (8):389-403.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Rich, Marvina C. (1979). Verbal reports on mental processes: Issues of accuracy and awareness. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 9 (1):29–37.   (Google | More links)
Roepstorff, Andreas (2003). Why trust the subject? Journal of Consciousness Studies 10.   (Google)
Roy, Jean-Michel (2007). Heterophenomenology and phenomenological skepticism. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2).   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper is an attempt to clarify and assess Dennett’s opinion about the relevance of the phenomenological tradition to contemporary cognitive science, focussing on the very idea of a phenomenological investigation. Dennett can be credited with four major claims on this topic: (1) Two kinds of phenomenological investigations must be carefully distinguished: autophenomenology and heterophenomenology; (2) autophenomenology is wrong, because it fails to overcome what might be called the problem of phenomenological scepticism; (3) the phenomenological tradition mainly derived from Husserl is based on an autophenomenological conception of phenomenology, and, consequently, can be of no help to contemporary cognitive science; (4) however, heterophenomenology is indispensable for obtaining an adequate theory of consciousness. In response to Dennett’s analysis, the paper develops two main counterclaims: (1) Although the traditional conception of phenomenology does indeed fit Dennett’s notion of autophenomenology, his sceptical arguments fail to rule out at least the possibility of a modified version of this traditional conception, such as the one defended in Roy et al. (Naturalizing Phenomenology, 1999); (2) the distinction between autophenomenology and heterophenomenology is at any rate misconceived, because, upon closer analysis, heterophenomenology proves to include the essential characteristics of autophenomenology
Soldati, Gianfranco (2007). Subjectivity in heterophenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I distinguish between naïve phenomenology and really existing phenomenology, a distinction that is too often ignored. As a consequence, the weaknesses inherent in naïve phenomenology are mistakenly attributed to phenomenology. I argue that the critics of naïve phenomenology have unwittingly adopted a number of precisely those weaknesses they wish to point out. More precisely, I shall argue that Dennett’s criticism of the naïve or auto-phenomenological conception of subjectivity fails to provide a better understanding of the intended phenomenon
Sytsma, Justin, Does heterophenomenology concede too much? Experiments on the folk theory of consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: It is fairly common in the modern debates over qualia to find assumptions being made about the views of non-philosophers. It is often assumed that the concept is part of the folk theory of consciousness. In fact, even prominent skeptics about qualia will admit that their views run counter to common sense. I illustrate this by considering the work of Daniel Dennett, focusing on his standard articulation of the debate concerning his heterophenomenological method. While Dennett is often accused of not going far enough (excluding qualia from the catalog of what needs to be explained by a science of consciousness), I argue that he goes too far in accepting that folk psychological utterances should be interpreted in terms of beliefs about qualia. I support this contention by calling on the results of six empirical studies testing Dennett’s theory of the folk theory of consciousness
Thompson, David L. (2000). Phenomenology and heterophenomenology: Husserl and Dennett on reality and science. In Andrew Brook, Don Ross & David L. Thompson (eds.), Dennett's Philosophy: A Comprehensive Assessment. MIT Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Velmans, Max (2007). Heterophenomenology vs. critical phenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2).   (Cited by 9 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Dennett’s heterophenomenology and the critical phenomenology that I outline may be thought of as competing accounts of a cautious approach to phenomenal description and method. One can be critical or cautious about how well or how reliably a subject can communicate his or her subjective experience in experimental settings, without for a moment doubting their existence or claiming them to be something completely different to how they seem. Given this, Dennett’s heterophenomenology with its accompanying “qualia denial” looks like nothing more than an attempt to shore up his counterintuitive, eliminativist philosophy of mind
Velmans, Max (ms). Heterophenomenogy versus critical phenomenology: A dialogue with Dan Dennett.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: ABSTRACT. The following is an email interchange that took place between Dan Dennett and myself in the period 14th to 28th June, 2001. The discussion tries to clarify some essential features of the "heterophenomenology" developed in his book Consciousness Explained (1996), and how this differs from a form of "critical phenomenology" implicit in my own book Understanding Consciousness (2000), and developed in my edited Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness: new methodologies and maps (2000). The departure point for the discussion is a paper posted on Dan's website that summarises a related debate between Dan, David Chalmers and Alvin Goldman (Dennett, 2001). To make the discussion easier to follow, the multiple embeddings have been removed (restoring the sequence in which the comments were written). I have also corrected a few typos and grammatical errors. However, the text of the emails remains exactly the same. In Round 1, I suggest that scientific investigations of consciousness are better described as a form of "critical phenomenology" that accepts conscious experiences to be real rather than as a "heterophenomenology" which remains neutral about or denies their existence. Dan replies that I have misunderstood his position - he doesn't deny that conscious experiences exist. Conscious experiences just don't have the first-person phenomenal properties that they are commonly thought to have and, in his view, science remains neutral about the nature of such properties. In Round 2, I agree with Dan that science initially remains neutral about how to understand the nature of conscious experiences. Nevertheless, the phenomenology of consciousness provides the data that scientists are trying to understand. A better understanding of data does not, in general, make the data disappear. I also ask, "if you remove the phenomena from phenomenal consciousness, in what sense is whatever remains "consciousness"? And, if one removes all the phenomenal content from what one takes consciousness to be, doesn't this amount to a denial of the existence of "consciousness" in any ordinary sense of this term? Dan's reply likens beliefs in phenomenal properties to the belief in evil spirits causing disease. He has no doubts that diseases such as whooping cough and tuberculosis are real, but this doesn't require him to believe in evil spirits. And, what's left, once one removes phenomenal properties, is what a zombie and a so-called conscious person have in common: a given set of functional properties that enable them to carry out the tasks we normally think of as conscious. In Round 3, I summarise our similarities and differences. We agree that first-person reports are not incorrigible and that third-person information may throw light on how to interpret them. We also agree that first-person reports are reports of "something", although we disagree about the nature of that something. I suggest that Dan is sceptical about first-person reports rather than heterophenomenologically "neutral" (e.g. when he likens belief in phenomenal properties to belief in evil spirits). While we agree that science is likely to deepen our understanding of consciousness, I repeat that, unlike the replacement of old theories by better theories, a deeper understanding of phenomena does not in general replace the phenomena themselves. Rather than third-person data replacing first-person reports, the former are required to make sense of the latter, making their relationship complementary and mutually irreducible. In fact, there are many cases where science takes the reality of first-person phenomenology seriously, for example in the extensive literature on pain and its alleviation. If this can't be squeezed into an exclusively third-person view of science, then we will just have to adjust our view of science - something that a "critical phenomenology" achieves at little cost. At the time of this editing, Dan has not replied. . Reference. Dennett, D. (2001) The fantasy of first-person science. http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/pubpage.htm
Velmans, Prof Max (ms). Heterophenomenology versus critical phenomenology.   (Google)
Abstract: 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 phenomenena 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
White, Patricia D. (1980). Limitations on verbal reports of internal events: A refutation of Nisbett and Wilson and of Bem. Psychological Review 87:105-12.   (Google)