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2 - Neurophenomenology: An Introduction for Neurophilosophers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 February 2010

Evan Thompson
Affiliation:
Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy, York University
Antoine Lutz
Affiliation:
Postdoctoral Fellow, W. M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Diego Cosmelli
Affiliation:
Ecole Polytechnique, Paris
Andrew Brook
Affiliation:
Carleton University, Ottawa
Kathleen Akins
Affiliation:
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
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Summary

Introduction

One of the major challenges facing neuroscience today is to provide an explanatory framework that accounts for both the subjectivity and neurobiology of consciousness. Although neuroscientists have supplied neural models of various aspects of consciousness, and have uncovered evidence about the neural correlates of consciousness (or NCCs), there nonetheless remains an ‘explanatory gap’ in our understanding of how to relate neurobiological and phenomenological features of consciousness. This explanatory gap is conceptual, epistemological, and methodological:

  • An adequate conceptual framework is still needed to account for phenomena that (ⅰ) have a first-person, subjective-experiential or phenomenal character; (ⅱ) are (usually) reportable and describable (in humans); and (ⅲ) are neurobiologically realized.

  • The conscious subject plays an unavoidable epistemological role in characterizing the explanandum of consciousness through first-person descriptive reports. The experimentalist is then able to link first-person data and third-person data. Yet the generation of first-person data raises difficult epistemological issues about the relation of second-order awareness or meta-awareness to first-order experience (e.g., whether second-order attention to first-order experience inevitably affects the intentional content and/or phenomenal character of first-order experience).

  • The need for first-person data also raises methodological issues (e.g., whether subjects should be naïve or phenomenologically trained).

Neurophenomenology is a neuroscientific research program whose aim is to make progress on these issues associated with the explanatory gap. In this chapter we give an overview of the neurophenomenological approach to the study of consciousness.

Type
Chapter
Information
Cognition and the Brain
The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement
, pp. 40 - 97
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

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Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

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