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Abstract: In this chapter I look closely at the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. I begin with a consideration of Gurwitsch's suggestive ideas about the role of acts of consciousness in constituting both the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I turn next to a discussion of how these ideas relate to my own empirical approach to intentional relations seen from a developmental perspective. This is followed by a discussion of some recent ideas in philosophical cognitive science on the intentionality of consciousness, both with respect to the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I show that these recent trends tend to naturalize intentionality and consciousness in directions compatible with the descriptive aspects of Gurwitsch's constitutive phenomenology
Abstract: All our conscious experiences, linguistic and nonlinguistic, are bound up with and dependent on a background that is vague, unexpressed, and sometimes unconscious. The combination of William JamesÕs concept of "fringes" coupled with Aaron GurwitschÕs analysis of the field of consciousness provides a general structure in which to embed phenomenal descriptions, enabling fringe phenomena to be understood, in part, relative to other experiences. I will argue, drawing on examples from Drew LederÕs book, The Absent Body, that specific and detailed phenomena can and should be interrelated through JamesÕs and GurwitschÕs analyses. I am proposing first that phenomenological descriptions in general could benefit from explicit consideration of the context of the phenomena within the totality of the field of consciousness, and second, that establishing that context requires a general structural model of that field, similar to that provided by Gurwitsch
Abstract: In this dissertation I develop a structural model of phenomenal consciousness that integrates contemporary experimental and theoretical work in philosophy and cognitive science. I argue that phenomenology must be “naturalized” and that it should be acknowledged as a major component of empirical research. I use this model to describe important phenomenal structures, and I then employ it to provide a detailed explication of tip-of-tongue phenomena. The primary aim of “structural phenomenology” is the creation of a general framework within which descriptions of experiences may be organized. The work of Husserl, Gurwitsch, the Gestalt psychologists, and many contemporary philosophers and cognitive scientists reveals several basic parameters underlying subjectivity. Chapter I argues that Husserlian methodology possesses problems both of praxis and of internal logic, and that its phenomenological descriptions cannot have the certainty he claimed. Consequently, an adequate phenomenology must incorporate empirical studies. This conclusion enables explicit transitions between empirical investigations and phenomenological insights. Chapter II introduces the theoretical framework underlying my model. I identify four parameters applicable to all experiences: 1) the degree of volitional emphasis with which something is experienced, i.e., the intensity of our focus on it, 2) the degree of non-volitional emphasis, i.e., the degree to which it is salient, 3) a variant of intentionality I term “directionality”, and 4) the property of recursion. Experiences are embedded within a complex set of relationships that unify and direct a layered phenomenal structure. I support these claims with evidence discovered over the past two centuries of research. Chapter III applies my model to the tip-of-tongue (TOT) state, in which difficulty remembering is accompanied by a sense of active searching. I show that a phenomenological description of the TOT experience is dependent on cognitive data, and that a phenomenological analysis is necessary to properly interpret these data. By showing how structural phenomenology offers a perspective from which to elucidate the results of experimental studies, I hope to clarify and establish the explicit role of introspection in empiricism, and of empiricism in phenomenology
Abstract: This paper argues that a Cartesian belief in the self-transparency of minds might actually be an innate aspect of our mind-reading faculty. But it acknowledges that some crucial evidence needed to establish this claim hasn’t been looked for or collected. What we require is evidence that a belief in the self-transparency of mind is universal to the human species. The paper closes with a call to anthropologists (and perhaps also developmental psychologists), who are in a position to collect such evidence, encouraging them to do so
Abstract: In recent years there has been some hard-won but still limited agreement that phenomenology may be of central importance to the cognitive sciences. This realization comes in the wake of dismissive gestures made by philosophers of mind like Dennett (1991), who mistakenly associates phenomenological method with the worst forms of introspection. For very different reasons, resistance can also be found on the phenomenological side of this issue. There are many thinkers well versed in the Husserlian tradition who do not even want to consider the usefulness of phenomenology for enlightening the sciences of the mind. For them cognitive science is simply too computational or too reductionistic to be seriously considered as capable of explaining experience or consciousness.  This is surprising in light of the fact that a highly respected phenomenologist like Merleau-Ponty was integrating phenomenological analyses with considerations drawn from the empirical sciences of psychology and neurology long before cognitive science was constructed as a framework to include just those aspects of psychology and neurology that focus on cognitive experience. Merleau-Ponty aside, philosophers on both sides of this issue have only gradually come to acknowledge the possibility that phenomenology may be directly relevant for a scientific understanding of cognition. Sometimes the empirical scientists themselves have arrived at this conclusion even before, and in spite of the philosophers. Francisco Varela's work on neurophenomenology provides an important example (Varela, 1996). Even the hardest of hard scientists have made peace offerings to phenomenology. Recently, for example, the neuroscientist Jean-Pierre Changeux declares that his purpose "is not to go to war against phenomenology; to the contrary, [he wants] to see what constructive contribution it can make to our knowledge of the psyche, acting in concert with the neurosciences" (Changeux and Ricoeur, 2000, p. 85)
Abstract: _sciousness called ‘neurophenomenology’ (Varela 1996) and illustrates it with a_ _recent pilot study (Lutz et al., 2002). At a theoretical level, neurophenomenology_ _pursues an embodied and large-scale dynamical approach to the_ _neurophysiology of consciousness (Varela 1995; Thompson and Varela 2001;_ _Varela and Thompson 2003). At a methodological level, the neurophenomeno-_ _logical strategy is to make rigorous and extensive use of first-person data about_ _subjective experience as a heuristic to describe and quantify the large-scale_ _neurodynamics of consciousness (Lutz 2002). The paper foocuses on_ _neurophenomenology in relation to three challenging methodological issues_ _about incorporating first-person data into cognitive neuroscience: (i) first-person_ _reports can be biased or inaccurate; (ii) the process of generating first-person_ _reports about an experience can modify that experience; and (iii) there is an ‘ex-_ _planatory gap’ in our understanding of how to relate first-person, phenomeno-_ _logical data to third-person, biobehavioural data._
Abstract: This paper analyzes an explicit instantiation of the program of neurophenomenology in a neuroscientific protocol. Neurophenomenology takes seriously the importance of linking the scientific study of consciousness to the careful examination of experience with a specific first-person methodology. My first claim is that such strategy is a fruitful heuristic because it produces new data and illuminates their relation to subjective experience. My second claim is that the approach could open the door to a natural account of the structure of human experience as it is mobilized in itself in such methodology. In this view, generative passages define the type of circulation which explicitly roots the active and disciplined insight the subject has about his/her experience in a biological emergent process
Abstract: The principal problem of consciousness is how brain processes cause subjective awareness. Since this problem involves subjectivity, ordinary scientific methods, applicable only to objective phenomena, cannot be used. Instead, by parallel application of phenomenological and scientific methods, we may establish a correspondence between the subjective and the objective. This correspondence is effected by the construction of a theoretical entity, essentially an elementary unit of consciousness, the intensity of which corresponds to electrochemical activity in a synapse. Dendritic networks correspond to causal dependencies between these subjective units. Therefore, the structure of conscious experience is derived from synaptic connectivity. This parallel phenomenal/neural analysis provides a framework for the investigation of a number of problems, including sensory inversions, the unity of consciousness, and the nature of nonhuman consciousness
Abstract: In this paper I investigate the representation of self-consciousness in the still life tradition in the Netherlands around the time of Descartes’ residence there. I treat the paintings of this tradition as both a phenomenological resource and as a phenomenological undertaking in their own right. I begin with an introductory overview of the still life tradition, with particular attention to semiotic structures characteristic of the vanitas still life. I then focus my analysis on the representation of self-consciousness in this tradition, identifying both a Cartesian mode of representation of self-consciousness but also a counter trend
Abstract: For Merleau-Ponty,consciousness in skillful coping is a matter of prereflective ‘I can’ and not explicit ‘I think that.’ The body unifies many domain-specific capacities. There exists a direct link between the perceived possibilities for action in the situation (‘affordances’) and the organism’s capacities. From Merleau-Ponty’s descriptions it is clear that in a flow of skillful actions, the leading ‘I can’ may change from moment to moment without explicit deliberation. How these transitions occur, however, is less clear. Given that Merleau-Ponty suggested that a better understanding of the self-organization of brain and behavior is important, I will re-read his descriptions of skillful coping in the light of recent ideas on neurodynamics. Affective processes play a crucial role in evaluating the motivational significance of objects and contribute to the individual’s prereflective responsiveness to relevant affordances.
Abstract: _reduction in favour of his existentialist account of être au monde. I show that whilst Merleau-Ponty _ _rejected, what he saw as, the transcendental idealist context in which Husserl presents the _ _reduction, he nevertheless accepts the heart of it, the epoché, as a methodological principle. _ _Contrary to a number of Merleau-Ponty scholars, être au monde is perfectly compatible with the _ _epoché and Merleau-Ponty endorses both. I also argue that it is a mistake to think that Merleau-_ _Ponty’s liberal use of the results of empirical psychology signify a rejection of the epoché. A proper _ _understanding of his views on the relation between phenomenology and psychology shows that, at _ _least in Merleau-Ponty’s eyes, the methods of phenomenology and the empirical sciences are _ _largely similar. I conclude that we have every reason to think that Merleau-Ponty accepted _ _Husserl’s demand that the phenomenologist place the world in brackets._
Abstract: This article makes five main points. (1) Individual human consciousness is formed in the dynamic interrelation of self and other, and therefore is inherently intersubjective. (2) The concrete encounter of self and other fundamentally involves empathy, under- stood as a unique and irreducible kind of intentionality. (3) Empathy is the precondi- tion (the condition of possibility) of the science of consciousness. (4) Human empathy
Abstract: This talk, delivered at De l''autopoièse à la neurophénoménologie: un hommage à Francisco Varela; from autopoiesis to neurophenomenology: a tribute to Francisco Varela, June 18–20, at the Sorbonne in Paris, explicates several links between Varela''s neurophenomenology and his biological concept of autopoiesis
Abstract: Scientific investigation of the mind, known since the nineteen-seventies as ‘cognitive science’, is an interdisciplinary field of research comprising psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of mind. The presence of philosophy in this list is telling. Cognitive science, although institutionally well established, is not a theoretically settled field, unlike molecular biology or high-energy physics. Rather, it includes a variety of competing research programmes - the computational theory of mind (also known as classical cognitive science), connectionism, and dynamical and embodied approaches - whose underlying conceptions of mentality and its relation to biology, on the one hand, and to culture, on the other, are often strikingly different (see Clark, 2001, for a useful overview)
Abstract: Current scientific research on consciousness aims to understand how consciousness arises from the workings of the brain and body, as well as the relations between conscious experience and cognitive processing. Clearly, to make progress in these areas, researchers cannot avoid a range of conceptual issues about the nature and structure of consciousness, such as the following: What is the relation between intentionality and consciousness? What is the relation between self-awareness and consciousness? What is the temporal structure of conscious experience? What is it like to imagine or visualize something, and how is this type of experience different from perception? How is bodily experience related to self-consciousness? Such issues have been addressed in detail in the philosophical tradition of phenomenology, inaugurated by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and developed by numerous other philosophers throughout the 20th century. This chapter provides an introduction to this tradition and its way of approaching issues about consciousness. We first discuss some features of phenomenological methodology and then present some of the most important, influential, and enduring phenomenological proposals about various aspects of consciousness. These aspects include intentionality, self-awareness and the first-person perspective, time-consciousness, embodiment, and intersubjectivity. We also highlight a few ways of linking phenomenology and cognitive
Abstract: 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
Abstract: 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