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Cardiophenomenology: a refinement of neurophenomenology


Cardiophenomenology aims at refining the neuro-phenomenological approach created by F. Varela as a new paradigm, jointly based on Husserl’s a priori dynamics of the living present and an experiment on anticipatory time-dynamics of visual motor perception. In order to do so, we will situate the paradigm of neurophenomenology at the cardio-vascular level, focusing on the emotional dynamics of lived experience and thus refining the dialogue, more precisely, the generative mutual constraints between first- and third-person analysis. In this article we present the theoretical hypothesis of cardiophenomenology, which places the bodily-emotional heartsystem at its core, as an intrinsic part of the cognitive system. The latter therefore needs to be enlarged in order to include an enactive embodied cardiac-affective dimension. Here we present five main arguments for the necessary inclusion of the bodily-emotional heartsystem in the cognitive system: first, two pragmatic operational arguments (experiential and methodological), then three theoretical ones (cognitive, homological and ontological-laden). A direct methodological-pragmatic consequence is the actual operativity of the generative mutual constraints based on an experiential (lived)-experimental (organic) continuity of the embodied cardiac-affective fold inherent in the subject.

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We thank Bruno Brizard (PHD Student, INSERM U930, François-Rabelais University, Tours), Maria Gyemant (Associate Post-doc, CNRS ENS, Husserl-Archives (UMR 8547), Paris) for their support and work, respectively in providing the third person technical data and in taking part in the analysis of the microphenomenological interviews, and Emily Hammond for the linguistic revision of the text.

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Correspondence to Natalie Depraz.

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Depraz, N., Desmidt, T. Cardiophenomenology: a refinement of neurophenomenology. Phenom Cogn Sci 18, 493–507 (2019).

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  • Emotion
  • Surprise
  • Neurophenomenology
  • Explicitation microphenomenological interview
  • Microphenomenology
  • First-person method
  • Third-person method
  • Physiology
  • Heartsystem
  • Cardiac-affective fold
  • Enaction
  • Cognitive system