An epistemology for the study of consciousness

Velmans, Max. 2017. An epistemology for the study of consciousness. In: Susan Schneider and Max Velmans, eds. The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness (2nd Edition). Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 769-784. ISBN 9780470674062 [Book Section]

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This chapter is an update of a chapter that first appeared in Velmans & Schneider (2007) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. In it chapter I re-examine the basic conditions required for a study of conscious experiences in the light of progress made in recent years in the field of consciousness studies. I argue that neither dualist nor reductionist assumptions about subjectivity versus objectivity and the privacy of experience versus the public nature of scientific observations allow an adequate understanding of how studies of consciousness actually proceed. The chapter examines the sense in which the experimenter is also a subject, the sense in which all experienced phenomena are private and subjective, the different senses in which a phenomenon can nevertheless be public and observations of it objective, and the conditions for
intra-subjective and intersubjective repeatability. The chapter goes on to re-examine the empirical method and how methods used in psychology differ from those used in physics. I argue that a reflexive understanding of these relationships supports a form of “critical phenomenology” that fits consciousness studies smoothly into science.

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May 2017Published

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20 Mar 2019 12:09

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15 Apr 2019 14:14


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