This paper is an attempt to clarify and assess Dennett’s opinion about the relevance of the phenomenological tradition to contemporary cognitive science, focussing on the very idea of a phenomenological investigation. Dennett can be credited with four major claims on this topic: (1) Two kinds of phenomenological investigations must be carefully distinguished: autophenomenology and heterophenomenology; (2) autophenomenology is wrong, because it fails to overcome what might be called the problem of phenomenological scepticism; (3) the phenomenological tradition mainly derived from Husserl is based on an autophenomenological conception of phenomenology, and, consequently, can be of no help to contemporary cognitive science; (4) however, heterophenomenology is indispensable for obtaining an adequate theory of consciousness. In response to Dennett’s analysis, the paper develops two main counterclaims: (1) Although the traditional conception of phenomenology does indeed fit Dennett’s notion of autophenomenology, his sceptical arguments fail to rule out at least the possibility of a modified version of this traditional conception, such as the one defended in Roy et al. (Naturalizing Phenomenology, 1999); (2) the distinction between autophenomenology and heterophenomenology is at any rate misconceived, because, upon closer analysis, heterophenomenology proves to include the essential characteristics of autophenomenology.
Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research
Choose a citation style from the tabs below