This text has a precise context and purpose. The context is the recent vigorous rekindling of the relations between Husserlian phenomenology and the contemporary science of mind, or cognitive science. This is what it is referred to as the naturalization of phenomenology. My interest have centered on a rather specific line of naturalization, provocatively called neurophenomenology, that I will introduce shortly. As a concrete application (or illustration) of this research style I have presented a new analysis of the phenomenology of present time. The purpose of these pages is to critically examine two central issues concerning the naturalization of phenomenology that emerge from this exercise, and that cry out for further elucidation.
My purpose in this essay is to propose an explicitly naturalized account of the experience of present nowness based on two complementary approaches: phenomenological analysis and cognitive neuroscience. What I mean by naturalization, and the role cognitive neuroscience plays, will become clear as this essay unfolds.
Our purpose in this essay is to let imagination be a guiding thread in a journey of exploration of its inextricably nondual quality, making it possible to travel from its material-brain basis to its experiential quality without discontinuity. That is, we are not going to propose a “bridge” between a scientific view of imagination and its place in the Buddhist discipline of human transformation. Our purpose is to embrace the entire phenomenon in all its complexity and weave it as a unity with its many dimensions, which need and constrain each other without residue – in the body and brain, in its direct phenomenological examination, and in its pragmatic mobilization for human change. Only such weaving can be called a meeting of Buddhism and neuroscience on a new phenomenological ground.
The paper unfolds in three stages. In the first, we briefly review some current work in the study of color vision. This view will then be taken to a critical limit in the second stage, through what we like to call the comparative argument. It purports to demonstrate the mode in which color vision is an ecologically embedded activity rather a form of information processing. We warn the reader immediately that we do not construe this in any way as a form of subjectivist view that color is a type of sensation, nor as a Lockean view that color is a form of secondary disposition. The comparative argument, we argue, allows to go beyond both those classical positions. This is done in the third and final part where we layout an enactive view of color.
Excerpt: In this paper, we wish to present a fresh approach to research on neural synchrony and the unity of mind and consciousness through a consideration of the place of mind in the network of natural causality. In particular, beyond the mechanisms of neural synchrony, we wish to consider the issue of the causal efficacy of consciousness – that aspect of consciousness in virtue of which we human beings (and other animals) qualify as conscious agents. Our approach will be to reconsider neural synchrony and consciousness within the context of two key concepts – emergence (or emergent processes) and embodiment.
Context: The current study of emotions is based on theoretical models that limit the emotional experience. The collection of emotional data is through self-report questionnaires, restricting the description of emotional experience to broad concepts or induced preconceived qualities of how an emotion should be felt. Problem: Are the emotional experiences responding exclusively to these concepts and dimensions? Method: Music was used to lead participants into an emotional experience. Then a micro-phenomenological interview, a methodology with a phenomenological approach, was used to guide their descriptions. Results: The descriptions of emotional experiences revealed a temporal structure that could have a linear or circular development. Moreover the qualitative aspects disclosed that these experiences are characterized by corporal sensations and marked variations of emotional intensity. Additionally, the emotional experience was embodied. Implications: The emotional experience is a dynamic process in which bodily sensations take a primary role, allowing the identification of such emotions. The integration of these first-person features of emotional experience with third-person data could lead to a better understanding and interpretation of emotional processes. Constructivist content: This article highlights the need to integrate first-person and third-person methodologies to study and explain human behavior in a comprehensive manner. Key Words: Emotion, experience, micro-phenomenological interview, body, music, affective neuroscience.
The aim of this paper is to detail a recent paradigm shift in the field of cognitive science (the so-called embodied or enactive approach to cognition) and to demonstrate how its unique approach to understanding life, the mind, and cognition might facilitate peaceful and compassionate coexistence. The paper is divided into three parts: first, it examines the so-called autopoietic theory of life, as proposed by Maturana and Varela. According to the embodied/enactive approach, there is a deep continuity between the structure of life and the structure of the mind, so before delving into the realm of the mental, it is important to acquaint ourselves with the fundamentals of the so-called bio-logic (the dialectical logic of living systems). Second, having elucidated the general anatomy of life, this paper goes on to discuss how the dialectical principles of bio-logic translate to the dialectical principles of neuro-logic and provides an outline of the fundamental nature of human beings as embodied organisms embedded in their environment. Third, drawing on the idea of co-determination of self and the world, which lies at the heart of bioand neuro-logic, it is argued that the dialectical structure of life and mind manifests itself in empathic openness towards the other and is thus not merely a theoretical postulate, but an experiential (realizable) actuality that can be cultivated through the application of various meditative/contemplative and therapeutic practices. This, as it turns out, is of utmost importance for the possibility of a sustained (auto)poiesis of peace, for it is only when one actually lives (en-acts), and not merely thinks, the co-determination (nondistinction) between one-self and the other that peaceful coexistence (genuine inter-being) can arise and propagate.