Phenomenology is about subjective aspects of the mind, such as the conscious states associated with vision and touch, and the conscious states associated with emotions and moods, such as feelings of elation or sadness. These states have a distinctive first-person ‘feel’ to them, called their phenomenal character. In this respect they are often taken to be radically different from mental states and processes associated with thought.
This is the first book to fully question this orthodoxy and explore the prospects of cognitive phenomenology, applying phenomenology to the study of thought and cognition. Does cognition have its own phenomenal character? Can introspection tell us either way? If consciousness flows in an unbroken ‘stream’ as William James argued, how might a punctuated sequence of thoughts fit into it?
Elijah Chudnoff begins with a clarification of the nature of the debate about cognitive phenomenology and the network of concepts and theses that are involved in it. He then examines the following topics:
- introspection and knowledge of our own thoughts
- phenomenal contrast arguments
- the value of consciousness
- the temporal structure of experience
- the holistic character of experience and the interdependence of sensory and cognitive states
- the relationship between phenomenal character and mental representation.
Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and informative introduction to and assessment of cognitive phenomenology, whether philosophy student or advanced researcher. It will also be valuable reading for those in related subjects such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and epistemology.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Introspection 3. Contrast 4. Value 5. Time 6. Independence 7. Intentionality 8. Conclusion. Glossary Bibliography Index
Elijah Chudnoff is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami, USA. He is the author of Intuition (2013).
"This is an original, excellent book on a subject of central importance in theorizing about consciousness. With great clarity, charity and economy, Chudnoff gives shape to the (hitherto somewhat unformed and chaotic) debate that has recently emerged about cognitive experience - even while he enlarges it with new ideas on underexplored topics. Chudnoff’s book should command the careful attention of anyone interested in the philosophy of consciousness." - Charles Siewert, Rice University, USA
"A lucid introduction to cognitive phenomenology, and also a book brimming with new and provocative ideas. Those who are new to the cognitive phenomenology debate and seasoned veterans alike will find much to stimulate them here." - Tim Bayne, University of Manchester, UK
"A truly excellent treatment of an important research topic. With characteristic rigour and precision, Chudnoff explores the debates surrounding cognitive phenomenology and its relation to other topics, providing both a focused and highly informative guide for the uninitiated, and a highly original and insightful contribution to the literature." - Angela Mendelovici, University of Western Ontario, Canada
"An authoritative introduction to philosophical issues about the experience of thinking by a leading figure in the field. It is a fantastic book that combines breadth of vision with detailed analysis and relentlessly clear writing. Highly recommended for professionals, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in philosophy of mind and related areas." - Declan Smithies, The Ohio State University, USA