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HOW EXPERIENCED PHENOMENA RELATE TO THINGS THEMSELVES: KANT, HUSSERL, HOCHE, AND REFLEXIVE MONISM

Velmans, Prof Max (2006) HOW EXPERIENCED PHENOMENA RELATE TO THINGS THEMSELVES: KANT, HUSSERL, HOCHE, AND REFLEXIVE MONISM. [Preprint]

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Abstract

What we normally think of as the “physical world” is also the world as experienced, that is, a world of appearances. Given this, what is the reality behind the appearances, and what might its relation be to consciousness and to constructive processes in the mind? According to Kant, the thing itself that brings about and supports these appearances is unknowable and we can never gain any understanding of how it brings such appearances about. Reflexive monism argues the opposite: the thing itself is knowable as are the processes that construct conscious appearances. Conscious appearances (empirical evidence) and the theories derived from them can represent what the world is really like, even though such empirical knowledge is partial, approximate and uncertain, and conscious appearances are species-specific constructions of the human mind. Drawing on the writings of Husserl, Hoche suggests that problems of knowledge, mind and consciousness are better understood in terms of a “pure noematic” phenomenology that avoids any reference to a “thing itself”. I argue that avoiding reference to a knowable reality (behind appearances) leads to more complex explanations with less explanatory value and counterintuitive conclusions—for example Hoche’s conclusion that consciousness is not part of nature. The critical realism adopted by reflexive monism appears to be more useful, as well as being consistent with science and common sense.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:Reflexive monism, thing itself, Kant, Husserl, Hoche, Velmans, phenomenology, noematic, knowledge, consciousness, mind
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Psychology > Perceptual Cognitive Psychology
Philosophy > Metaphysics
ID Code:4737
Deposited By:Velmans, Professor Max,
Deposited On:27 Feb 2006
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

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References in Article

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Dodwell, P. (2000) Brave New Mind: A Thoughtful Inquiry into the Nature & Meaning of Mental Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta. New York: Clarion Books, Simon & Shuster.

Hoche, H. ‘Reflexive Monism’ versus ‘Complementarism’: An analysis and criticism of the conceptual groundwork of Max Velmans’s ‘reflexive model’ of consciousness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (in press).

Kant, I. (1978[1781]) ‘Paralogisms of pure reason’, in Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, translated by N.K. Smith, London: The Macmillan Press.

Velmans, M. (1991a) Is human information processing conscious? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4):651-701

Velmans, M. (1991b) Consciousness from a first-person perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14(4):702-726.

Velmans, M.(1993) Consciousness, causality and complementarity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 16(2), 404-416.

Velmans, M. (1996) Consciousness and the “causal paradox.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19(3), 537-542.

Velmans, M. (1999a) Intersubjective science, Journal of Consciousness Studies 6(2/3): 299-306.

Velmans, M. (2000) Understanding Consciousness. London: Routledge/Psychology Press.

Velmans, M.(2002a) How could conscious experiences affect brains? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9(11), 3-29.

Velmans, M. (2002b) Making sense of causal interactions between consciousness and brain. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 9(11), 69-95.

Velmans, M (2006a) Heterophenomenology versus critical phenomenology. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (in press)

Velmans, M. (2006b) An epistemology for the study of consciousness. In M. Velmans and S. Schneider, The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, New York: Blackwell (in press)

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