Phenomenology and Non-reductionist Cognitive Science

  • Shaun Gallagher


The basic argument of this chapter, and more generally of this volume, is that it is possible to have a non-reductionist science of the embodied mind that is superior in many ways to any reductionist science that uses only “indirect routes” to, and often fails to arrive at experience. More specifically, in recent years, arguments have been put forward that we can pursue this non-reductionist science to the extent that phenomenology, or alternative introspective methods that can provide access to a methodologically controlled description of first-person experience, can be employed in experimental science (Frith 2002; Gallagher 2002, 2003; Gallagher and Overgaard 2005; Gallagher and Sørensen 2006; Jack and Roepstorff 2002; Schooler 2002; Varela and Shear 1999; also see especially the papers collected in the two-volume Trusting the Subject, Jack and Roepstorff 2003; Roepstorff and Jack 2004). Despite this growing but cautious agreement about the importance of first-person approaches, there are still questions about precisely what these methods are and how they are to be used. There are also doubts and objections, most famously summarized by Dennett (2001): “First-person science of consciousness is a discipline with no methods, no data, no results, no future, no promise. It will remain a fantasy.” For purposes of this chapter I set aside such objections (see Noë 2007 for ongoing debates), and focus on the varieties of first-person approaches that can contribute to cognitive science.


Phenomenological Analysis Anterior Insula Inferior Parietal Cortex Phenomenological Method Virtual Hand 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaun Gallagher
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Philosophy and Cognitive ScienceInstitute of Simulation and Training, University of Central FloridaFloridaUSA
  2. 2.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of HertfordshireHertfordshireUK

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