Article

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 21-43

Killing the straw man: Dennett and phenomenology

  • Dan ZahaviAffiliated withDanish National Research Foundation: Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen Email author 

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Abstract

Can phenomenology contribute to the burgeoning science of consciousness? Dennett’s reply would probably be that it very much depends upon the type of phenomenology in question. In my paper I discuss the relation between Dennett’s heterophenomenology and the type of classical philosophical phenomenology that one can find in Husserl, Scheler and Merleau-Ponty. I will in particular be looking at Dennett’s criticism of classical phenomenology. How vulnerable is it to Dennett’s criticism, and how much of a challenge does his own alternative constitute? I will argue that there are some rather marked differences between these two approaches to consciousness, but as I also hope to make clear, Dennett’s own account of where the differences are located is off target and ultimately based on a somewhat flawed conception of what classical phenomenology amounts to.

Key words

phenomenology introspection first-person perspective second-person perspective intersubjectivity