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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: April 2013

7 - Husserl’s subjectivism and the philosophy of mind


What is philosophy of mind philosophy of?

In a recent paper which critically examines and rejects several suggestions that have been made for “bridging the gap” between Husserl’s phenomenology and neuroscience, Rick Grush concludes on a positive note:

It should be obvious enough that while I have been highly critical of van Gelder, Varela and Lloyd, there is a clear sense in which the four of us are on the same team. We all believe that an important source of insights for the task of understanding of mentality is what Lloyd describes as “analytic phenomenology,” even if we disagree about how to go about harvesting these insights.

As Grush continues, it turns out that phenomenology has a rather central role to play in what is now customarily referred to as the “philosophy of mind.”

The questions What is a mind? What would some entity have to have, or be able to do, in order for it to be or have a mind? are, interestingly, questions that are simply not raised by the sciences of the mind. I have invariably been met with puzzled looks when I raise such questions to psychologists or neuroscientists, and it takes a little time and effort to get them to see what the question is! … The point for now is that the tradition Husserl was part of was one that took such questions seriously. The commonality between myself and those I have criticized is that we take that this task is an important one, one that can aid, and be aided by, empirical investigations as carried out by the relevant sciences.

(Grush 2006, p. 449)

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