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.
Table of Contents
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