In this paper Dennett's method of heterophenomenology is discussed. After a brief explanation of the method, three arguments in support of it are considered in turn. First, the argument from the possibility of error and self-delusion of the subject is found to ignore the panoply of intermediate position that one can take with regard to the epistemic status of first-personal knowledge. The argument is also criticized for employing an epistemic double-standard. Second, the argument from the neutrality of heterophenomenology is found (...) to be defeated by the fact that, contrary to Dennett's claims, third-person, functionalist and instrumentalist assumptions substantially underpin and inform the method. Similarities between heterophenomenology and the Turing Test are furthermore explored, and it is shown that a weaker version of the neutrality claim also fails. Third, the argument from the appeal to the standard practice of science is shown to substantially rest on an equivocation on the term 'heterophenomenology' and is therefore rejected. Finally, it is suggested that the use of introspective reports is not inherently at odds with sound scientific procedures. (shrink)
The main thesis of Kluge is that the human mind is an evolutionary kluge. As Gary Marcus informs us, the term was popularized by Jackson Granholm's 1962 article ‘How to Design a Kludge’ where it was defined as ‘an ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole’. A kluge may be clumsy and inelegant but, surprisingly, it works. And the mind, according to Marcus, is ‘[t]he most fantastic kluge of them all’. Unlike the view of the human mind (...) that is advanced here, Kluge itself is not a kluge. It is clear, smooth, well-organized, well paced and well written; it can comfortably be read in a few sittings. Unlike a kluge, the parts match well, the collection is not ill-assorted, the whole is not particularly distressing – and, as I will argue, logically speaking it does not work. (shrink)
For some time now, the topics of introspection, inner experience and so-called first-person approaches to the mental, have been the subject of attention in philosophy, psychology and consciousness studies. Indeed, some philosophers think that a central task of the latter field is to systematically relate and integrate data about subjective experience and data about behavior and brain processes.
Modern psychology, it is widely held, was born as a “science of mental life” based almost exclusively on the method of introspection. The most salient example is E.B. Titchener’s influential system of psychology known as “introspectionism.” Early in the twentieth century, this approach fell into disfavor—and, in turn, introspection as such also came to be seen as a dead end in psychology. As this paper argues, Titchener’s psychology was based on the key notions of elementism, reductionism and sensationism. His philosophical (...) commitment to these suppositions was deep and the general aim was to deliver a comprehensive scientific account of human mental life in accordance with that pre-experimental, theoretical agenda. The scientific goal of introspectionism was thus not to describe mental phenomena as they naturally and plainly form part of the subject’s experience. Here, Titchener’s approach contrasts rather starkly with contemporary introspective approaches, such as Descriptive Experience Sampling, that aim to bracket assumptions and theory. In sum, this paper calls into question the assumption that introspectionism in psychology should be regarded as an archetypal instantiation in the history of science, of a psychological system built on a fundamental commitment to introspection. (shrink)