Phenomenology: Contribution to cognitive science

Abstracta SPECIAL ISSUE II, Pp. 54 – 70, 2008 (3):54-70 (2008)
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Abstract

My comments will focus on the issue of what, according to Gallagher and Zahavi (2008, hereafter G&Z; all references will be to this book unless otherwise noted), the phenomenological approach can contribute to the cognitive sciences (including cognitive neuroscience), one of their major themes. Toward the end of the paper, I will say something about a second major theme of theirs, the relationship of phenomenology to philosophy of mind. Conventional wisdom within cognitive science has it is that phenomenology is hostile to the scientific study of human cognition. Hubert Dreyfus, a self-declared phenomenologist, writes works with titles such as What computers can’t do (1972) and What computers still can’t do (1992), both of which urge that the attempt to understand the mind as a computational information-processor, at any rate, is doomed to failure. Since the computational, information-processing model is the only remotely worked-out scientific model of cognition that we have, it is not too surprising that phenomenology and cognitive science have generally been viewed as being at loggerheads.

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