Publication Details

Gallagher, S. (2009). Neurophenomenology. In T. Bayne, A. Cleeremans and P. Wilken (Eds.), The Oxford Companion to Consciousness (pp. 470-472). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9780198569510


Neurophenomenology was originally proposed by Francisco Varela (1996) as a response to the hard problem of consciousness as defined by Chalmers. It is intended not as a theory of consciousness that would constitute a solution to the hard problem, but as a methodological response that maps out a non-reductionistic approach to discovering a solution. Neurophenomenology works on both sides of the problem by incorporating phenomenological method into experimental cognitive neuroscience. Phenomenology is an important part of this approach because it anchors both theoretical and empirical investigations of consciousness in embodied and situated experience as it is lived through, and as it is expressed as verbally articulated descriptions in the first person, in contrast to third-person correlates of experience or abstract representations (Varela and Thompson 2003). Neurophenomenology thus attempts to naturalize phenomenology, in the sense of providing an explicitly naturalized account of consciousness, specifically integrating firstperson data into an explanatory framework where experiential properties and processes are made continuous with the properties and processes accepted by the natural sciences (see Roy et al. 1999).

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