From the Introduction: Our aim is to show that, irrespective of its alleged theoretical “impossibility”, introspection is a living reality. We will focus on one of the currently available methods that we ourselves practice: the elicitation interview method.
Context: Current theories of art, particularly those developed from a neuroscientific perspective, fail to take adequate account of the role, methods or motivations of the artist. The problem is that the lack of the artist’s voice in interdisciplinary theoretical research undermines the basis of current theoretical models. Problem: How can artists purposefully engage with contemporary consciousness studies? The aim of the research was to develop new methodologies appropriate for cross-disciplinary research and to establish what value, if any, neuroaesthetic or phenomenological theories of art could hold for contemporary arts practice. Method: My approach to the topic was to explore the application of neuroaesthetic and phenomenological theory through practice-based research in contemporary art. Results: The paper maps out a proposed avenue of research, and some initial findings, rather than the results of an inquiry. Implications: This paper will be of interest to those who work in philosophy of art and visual perception and those who are exploring empirically-based research methodologies in philosophy. Insights will be beneficial to arts practitioners, philosophers and scientists researching aesthetic experience. Constructivist content: The paper explores Noë’s sensorimotor theory of perception and the extended temporal relation between visual elements of an artwork as its forms are created in consciousness.
The article briefly describes the relatively young field of cognitive science dedicated to the research of lived human experience – the so-called phenomenological inquiry (or first-personresearch). It enumerates the reasons for the renewed interest in the study of experience and outlines the field’s relation to the rest of cognitive science. With the help of an example (phenomenology of thinking), the article attempts to illustrate the importance of systematic study of experience and addresses some open questions emerging from such an enterprise.
The aim of the article is twofold. First, it aims to overview current empirical methods in the area of first-personresearch. Such a review cannot overlook epistemological and ontological issues, but must at the same time keep in mind methodological and almost technical nature of the problem. Empirical experience research is positioned within the frame of cognitive science and the overview of approaches and techniques of empirical phenomenology is presented, together with epistemological considerations. The second aim of the paper is concerned with the future of research in the discussed area. It suggests that in-depth, existentially liable introspection and self-inquiry should be considered as serious scientific research tools.
The author discusses the problem of integration of first- and third-person approaches in studying the human mind. She critically evaluates and compares various methodologies for studying and explaining conscious experience. Common strategies that apply reductive explanation seem to be unsatisfied for explaining experience and its subjective character. There were attempts to explain experience from the first-person point of view (introspectionism, philosophical phenomenology) but the results were not intersubjectively verifiable. Dennett proposed heterophenomenology as a scientifically viable alternative which supposed to bridge the gap between first- and third-person perspectives. The author critically evaluates his proposal and compares it to contemporary attempts to provide first-person methods.
This study explores Grade Seven students’ experiences of doubt and certainty in mathematics. During nine months of (bi-monthly) sessions, students engaged with several mathematical prompts; their interactions with each other and with the teacher-researcher were video-taped, transcribed, and coded for learners’ evolving perceptions of what was (a) sufficient to define certainty (including what was experienced as intuitive or counter-intuitive and ways such certainty was interrupted), (b) relevant to the tasks (including understandings that initially dwelled on the periphery of awareness), and (c) mathematically connected. The study is conceptualized within an enactivist view of cognition that emphasizes autonomous, co-emergent, and embodied knowing. It became clear that doubt and certainty emerge from a broader, holistic, understanding that is largely beneath ordinary awareness. An important aspect of the study was to bring more of this understanding to awareness. Here, Francisco Varela’s notion of researcher as empathic coach and Eugene Gendlin’s notions of “felt sense” and “implicit intricacy” assumed importance. By attending to the holistic sense that points to implicit understanding, it was possible to broaden the scope of what was deemed relevant in selected contexts. It was found that previously subconscious understandings nonetheless influenced learning. Once named (even broadly), implicit understanding co-evolved with language in developing mathematical understanding. By attending to external indicators of felt meaning, learners interacted with each others’ implicit understanding, thereby bringing it closer to consciousness and into conversation. Prematurely insisting on clarity and logic precluded awareness of the implicit. Relevance: It introduces Varela’s notion of the “empathic second person coach” as an approach to studying the lived experiences of mathematics learners.
Upshot: Is lived experience always the experience of a self? The central thesis of Dan Zahavi’s book is that there is a “minimal” or “core” self, according to which a quality of “self-givenness” is a constitutive feature of experience. The adoption of a dynamic phenomenological perspective leads us to call this thesis into question.