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The Tangled Dialectic of Body and Consciousness: A Metaphysical Counterpart of Radical Neurophenomenology

Bitbol, Michel (2021) The Tangled Dialectic of Body and Consciousness: A Metaphysical Counterpart of Radical Neurophenomenology. Constructivist Foundations.

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Abstract

Context – Varela’s neurophenomenology was conceived from the outset as a criticism and dissolution of the “hard problem” of the physical origin of consciousness. Indeed, the standard (physicalist) formulation of this problem is what generates it, and turns it into a fake mystery.
Such dissolution of the “hard problem” is very demanding for researchers, however. It invites them to leave their position of neutral observers/thinkers, and to seek self-transformation instead. It leaves no room for the “hard problem” in the field of discourse, and rather deflects it onto the plane of attitudes. As a consequence, it runs the risk of being either ignored or considered as a dodge. How can we overcome this obstacle and restore the argumentative impact of neurophenomenology?
I propose a metaphysical compensation for the anti-metaphysical premise of the neurophenomenological dissolution of the “hard problem.” Yet, this alternative metaphysics is designed to keep the benefit of a shift from discourse to ways of being, that is the latent message of neurophenomenology.
A dynamical and participatory conception of the relation between body and consciousness is then formulated, with no concession to standard positions such as physicalist monism and property dualism. This conception is based on Varela’s formalism of “cybernetic dialectic” and on a geometrical model of self-production. It is in close agreement with Merleau-Ponty’s “intra-ontology”: an engaged ontological approach of what it is like to be, rather than a discipline of the contemplation of beings.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bitbol, Michel
Keywords: Mind-body problem, consciousness, neurophenomenology, phenomenology, metaphysics
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Prof. Michel Bitbol
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2021 02:34
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2021 02:34
Item ID: 19514
Journal or Publication Title: Constructivist Foundations
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Date: 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19514

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