1st Edition

Mechanisms and Consciousness Integrating Phenomenology with Cognitive Science

By Marek Pokropski Copyright 2022
    218 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book develops a new approach to naturalizing phenomenology. The author proposes to integrate phenomenology with the mechanistic framework that offers new methodological perspectives for studying complex mental phenomena such as consciousness.

    While mechanistic explanatory models are widely applied in cognitive science, their approach to describing subjective phenomena is limited. The author argues that phenomenology can fill this gap. He proposes two novel ways of integrating phenomenology and mechanism. First, he presents a new reading of phenomenological analyses as functional analyses. Such functional phenomenology delivers a functional sketch of a target system and provides constraints on the space of possible mechanisms. Second, he develops the neurophenomenological approach in the direction of dynamic modeling of experience. He shows that neurophenomenology can deliver dynamical constraints on mechanistic models and thus inform the search for an underlying mechanism.

    Mechanisms and Consciousness will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and the cognitive sciences.


    Part I. Integrating Phenomenology with Cognitive Science

    1. The Concept of Phenomenology

    2. Naturalizing Phenomenology Reconsidered

    3. Models of Explanation in Cognitive Science

    Part II. Phenomenology and Mechanism: In Search of Constraints

    4. Phenomenology and Functionalism

    5. Phenomenology and Dynamical Modeling

    6. Conclusion: Towards Methodologically Guided Mutual Constraints


    Marek Pokropski is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland.

    "Mechanisms and Consciousness expresses a new voice in the naturalizing phenomenology debate. Marek Pokropski proposes to rethink the issues involved in naturalization in the context of recent discussions about explanatory integration in the cognitive sciences. He provides a lucid overview of the relevant explanatory models, and he articulates a fresh and thought-provoking look at Husserlian phenomenology, bridging it with the seemingly opposite, neomechanistic approach. I recommend this book for those who are intrigued about how to integrate the first-person study of consciousness with cognitive neuroscience."

    Shaun Gallagher, Lillian and Morrie Moss Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis, USA

    "Marek Pokropski's book is an excellent contribution to the discussion on mechanistic explanation. By bringing naturalized phenomenology under the mechanistic umbrella, Pokropski offers a highly compelling view on how naturalized phenomenology may proceed further in the study of consciousness. For all serious students of consciousness and phenomenology, this book is a must-read."

    Marcin Miłkowski□, Polish Academy of Sciences

    "As Pokropski rightly notes, work on naturalizing phenomenology is often couched in terms of 20th Century conceptions of scientific explanation and integration, ignoring the growing popularity of mechanistic accounts in recent years. Pokropski’s book should change that for the better. Anyone seeking to integrate phenomenology with cognitive science will benefit from reading it."

    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

    "Marek Pokropski’s book is a valuable and honest voice in the still heated discussion on the relationship of phenomenology and cognitive sciences. What distinguishes the presented position is, above all, the original, mechanistic-based, integrative perspective, which assumes, first of all, the cooperation of researchers working in various paradigms."

    Michał Piekarski, Philosophical Psychology

    "Pokropski shows a strong familiarity with an impressive range of topics across different traditions and disciplines. Readers unfamiliar with work at the intersection of phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience, or with work on mechanistic explanation in the mind sciences, would benefit from a great deal of the text. Overall, Pokropski’s work makes a contribution to the ongoing dialogue between phenomenological philosophy and the empirical sciences of the mind. Readers sympathetic with the (neo)mechanistic approach to cognition will find a number of places in which that approach is brought into fruitful engagement with topics from Husserl’s work."

    Michael Madary, Husserl Studies

    "This is an excellent work which makes an innovative and fruitful contribution to the literature. What is novel about the book is its detailed consideration of a topic that has garnered much attention in cognitive science and analytic philosophy over the last 70 years, but which remains (comparatively) understudied in the phenomenological movement: explanation."

    Heath Williams, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences