Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind


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Hegel , another in the writings of Edmund Husserl in , and thirdly, succeeding Husserl's work, in the writings of his former research assistant Martin Heidegger in Although the term "phenomenology" was used occasionally in the history of philosophy before Husserl , modern use ties it more explicitly to his particular method.

Following is a list of important thinkers, in rough chronological order, who used the term "phenomenology" in a variety of ways, with brief comments on their contributions: [13]. Later usage is mostly based on or critically related to Husserl's introduction and use of the term. This branch of philosophy differs from others in that it tends to be more "descriptive" than " prescriptive ". The Encyclopedia of Phenomenology Kluwer Academic Publishers, features separate articles on the following seven types of phenomenology: [16]. Modern scholarship also recognizes the existence of the following varieties: late Heidegger's transcendental hermeneutic phenomenology [22] see transcendental philosophy and a priori , Maurice Merleau-Ponty 's embodied phenomenology [23] see embodied cognition , Michel Henry 's material phenomenology also based on embodied cognition , [24] analytic phenomenology [25] see analytic philosophy , J.

Austin 's linguistic phenomenology [26] see ordinary language philosophy , and post-analytic phenomenology [27] see postanalytic philosophy. Intentionality refers to the notion that consciousness is always the consciousness of something. The word itself should not be confused with the "ordinary" use of the word intentional, but should rather be taken as playing on the etymological roots of the word.

Originally, intention referred to a "stretching out" "in tension," from Latin intendere , and in this context it refers to consciousness "stretching out" towards its object. However, one should be careful with this image: there is not some consciousness first that, subsequently, stretches out to its object; rather, consciousness occurs as the simultaneity of a conscious act and its object. Intentionality is often summed up as "aboutness. This means that the object of consciousness doesn't have to be a physical object apprehended in perception : it can just as well be a fantasy or a memory.

Consequently, these "structures" of consciousness, i. The term "intentionality" originated with the Scholastics in the medieval period and was resurrected by Brentano who in turn influenced Husserl's conception of phenomenology, who refined the term and made it the cornerstone of his theory of consciousness.

The meaning of the term is complex and depends entirely on how it is conceived by a given philosopher. The term should not be confused with "intention" or the psychoanalytic conception of unconscious "motive" or "gain". Intuition in phenomenology refers to cases where the intentional object is directly present to the intentionality at play; if the intention is "filled" by the direct apprehension of the object, you have an intuited object. Having a cup of coffee in front of you, for instance, seeing it, feeling it, or even imagining it — these are all filled intentions, and the object is then intuited.

The same goes for the apprehension of mathematical formulae or a number. If you do not have the object as referred to directly, the object is not intuited, but still intended, but then emptily. Examples of empty intentions can be signitive intentions — intentions that only imply or refer to their objects. In everyday language, we use the word evidence to signify a special sort of relation between a state of affairs and a proposition: State A is evidence for the proposition "A is true.

In Husserl's phenomenology, which is quite common, this pair of terms, derived from the Greek nous mind , designate respectively the real content, noesis, and the ideal content, noema, of an intentional act an act of consciousness. The Noesis is the part of the act that gives it a particular sense or character as in judging or perceiving something, loving or hating it, accepting or rejecting it, and so on. This is real in the sense that it is actually part of what takes place in the consciousness or psyche of the subject of the act.

The Noesis is always correlated with a Noema ; for Husserl, the full Noema is a complex ideal structure comprising at least a noematic sense and a noematic core. The correct interpretation of what Husserl meant by the Noema has long been controversial, but the noematic sense is generally understood as the ideal meaning of the act [30] and the noematic core as the act's referent or object as it is meant in the act.


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One element of controversy is whether this noematic object is the same as the actual object of the act assuming it exists or is some kind of ideal object. In phenomenology, empathy refers to the experience of one's own body as another. While we often identify others with their physical bodies, this type of phenomenology requires that we focus on the subjectivity of the other, as well as our intersubjective engagement with them. In Husserl's original account, this was done by a sort of apperception built on the experiences of your own lived-body.

The lived body is your own body as experienced by yourself, as yourself. Your own body manifests itself to you mainly as your possibilities of acting in the world. It is what lets you reach out and grab something, for instance, but it also, and more importantly, allows for the possibility of changing your point of view. This helps you differentiate one thing from another by the experience of moving around it, seeing new aspects of it often referred to as making the absent present and the present absent , and still retaining the notion that this is the same thing that you saw other aspects of just a moment ago it is identical.

Your body is also experienced as a duality, both as object you can touch your own hand and as your own subjectivity you experience being touched. The experience of your own body as your own subjectivity is then applied to the experience of another's body, which, through apperception, is constituted as another subjectivity.

You can thus recognise the Other's intentions, emotions, etc. This experience of empathy is important in the phenomenological account of intersubjectivity. In phenomenology, intersubjectivity constitutes objectivity i.

Phenomenology, Philosophy of Mind and the Subject - Durham e-Theses

This does not imply that objectivity is reduced to subjectivity nor does it imply a relativist position, cf. In the experience of intersubjectivity, one also experiences oneself as being a subject among other subjects, and one experiences oneself as existing objectively for these Others ; one experiences oneself as the noema of Others' noeses, or as a subject in another's empathic experience. As such, one experiences oneself as objectively existing subjectivity. Intersubjectivity is also a part in the constitution of one's lifeworld, especially as "homeworld.

The lifeworld German: Lebenswelt is the "world" each one of us lives in. One could call it the "background" or "horizon" of all experience, and it is that on which each object stands out as itself as different and with the meaning it can only hold for us.

Philosophy of Mind and Phenomenology: Conceptual and Empirical Approaches

The lifeworld is both personal and intersubjective it is then called a "homeworld" , and, as such, it does not enclose each one of us in a solus ipse. In the first edition of the Logical Investigations , still under the influence of Brentano, Husserl describes his position as "descriptive psychology. The first volume of the Logical Investigations , the Prolegomena to Pure Logic , begins with a devastating critique of psychologism , i. Husserl establishes a separate field for research in logic, philosophy, and phenomenology, independently from the empirical sciences.

Some years after the publication of the Logical Investigations , Husserl made some key elaborations that led him to the distinction between the act of consciousness noesis and the phenomena at which it is directed the noemata.

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What we observe is not the object as it is in itself, but how and inasmuch it is given in the intentional acts. Knowledge of essences would only be possible by "bracketing" all assumptions about the existence of an external world and the inessential subjective aspects of how the object is concretely given to us.

Husserl in a later period concentrated more on the ideal, essential structures of consciousness. As he wanted to exclude any hypothesis on the existence of external objects, he introduced the method of phenomenological reduction to eliminate them. What was left over was the pure transcendental ego, as opposed to the concrete empirical ego. Now Transcendental Phenomenology is the study of the essential structures that are left in pure consciousness: This amounts in practice to the study of the noemata and the relations among them.

The philosopher Theodor Adorno criticised Husserl's concept of phenomenological epistemology in his metacritique Against Epistemology , which is anti-foundationalist in its stance. After Husserl's publication of the Ideen in , many phenomenologists took a critical stance towards his new theories. Especially the members of the Munich group distanced themselves from his new transcendental phenomenology and preferred the earlier realist phenomenology of the first edition of the Logical Investigations.

Existential phenomenology differs from transcendental phenomenology by its rejection of the transcendental ego. Merleau-Ponty objects to the ego's transcendence of the world, which for Husserl leaves the world spread out and completely transparent before the conscious. Heidegger thinks of a conscious being as always already in the world.

Transcendence is maintained in existential phenomenology to the extent that the method of phenomenology must take a presuppositionless starting point — transcending claims about the world arising from, for example, natural or scientific attitudes or theories of the ontological nature of the world. While Husserl thought of philosophy as a scientific discipline that had to be founded on a phenomenology understood as epistemology , Martin Heidegger held a radically different view. Heidegger himself states their differences this way:.

According to Heidegger, philosophy was not at all a scientific discipline, but more fundamental than science itself. According to him science is only one way of knowing the world with no special access to truth.

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Furthermore, the scientific mindset itself is built on a much more "primordial" foundation of practical, everyday knowledge. Husserl was skeptical of this approach, which he regarded as quasi-mystical, and it contributed to the divergence in their thinking. Instead of taking phenomenology as prima philosophia or a foundational discipline, Heidegger took it as a metaphysical ontology: " being is the proper and sole theme of philosophy Phenomena are not the foundation or Ground of Being. Neither are they appearances, for, as Heidegger argues in Being and Time , an appearance is "that which shows itself in something else," while a phenomenon is "that which shows itself in itself.

Wearing the hat of a traditional philosopher of mind, one might worry that terminology about the mental is inherently intentional, semantic, or otherwise normative, while typical neurophysiological terminology is not. My own view is that the real moral for contemporary cognitive science following from the gestalt tradition is not that special vocabulary must be chosen to ensure commensurability between phenomenological and physiological domains, but rather that whatever vocabulary is used to describe either domain, it must be considered strictly in terms of its structural features while asking how the two relate.

Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind

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