Bitbol M. & Petitmengin C. (2017) Neurophenomenology and the micro-phenomenological interview. In: Schneider S. & Velmans M. (eds.) The Blackwell companion to consciousness. Second edition. Wiley & Sons, Hoboken NJ: 726–739. https://cepa.info/4120
Summary: In its most radical version, Neurophenomenology asks researchers to suspend the quest of an objective solution to the problem of the origin of subjectivity, and clarify instead how objectification can be obtained out of the coordination of subjective experiences. It therefore invites researchers to develop their inquiry about subjective experience with the same determination as their objective inquiry. However, accessing lived experience raises the question of the investigation method, and of the reliability of its results. Here, we present an accurate method of exploration of lived experience: the elicitation (or microphenomenological) interview. In the course of this interview, one first triggers a form of “phenomenological reduction,” then assists the subject in retrieving or “evoking” past experiences, and finally helps the subject to perform acts of attention about this evoked experience, to describe it faithfully. It is shown that this method addresses a set of traditional objections against introspection Relevance: Elicitation interview, first-person, introspection, lived experience, microdynamics, micro-phenomenological interview, neurophenomenology, pre-reflective experience.
Kordeš U. & Demšar E. (2021) Horizons of becoming aware: Constructing a pragmatic-epistemological framework for empirical first-person research. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Online first. https://cepa.info/7367
Recent decades have seen a development of a variety of approaches for examining lived experience in the context of cognitive science. However, the field of first-person research has yet to develop a pragmatic epistemological framework that would enable researchers to compare and integrate – as well as understand the epistemic status of – different methods and their findings. In this article, we present the foundation of such a framework, grounded in an epistemological investigation of gestures involved in acquiring data on experience. We examine the acts of turning towards one’s experiential field and attending to experience within the process of reflection. We describe what we call the horizon of attending to experience by analogy to the “experimental arrangement” in quantum observation: this horizon, we argue, co-defines experiential phenomena that end up being observed and reported; at the same time, it itself forms an element of experience and is therefore amenable to phenomenological investigation. Drawing on the constructivist notion of enaction, we show that acknowledging the inherently constructive nature of attending to experience and accepting one’s lack of epistemic access to the “original”, observation-independent pre-reflective experience is not a dead end for first-person research when situated in a constructivist (but not relativist) understanding of the reflective act and its results. Expanding the notion of the horizon to encompass all epistemic acts involved in producing phenomenological data and final results of a first-person study (i.e., horizon of the method), we suggest some lines of inquiry that would allow researchers to identify and articulate horizons of particular methods, opening a way towards integrating past and future findings of different complementary first-person approaches into a comprehensive map of lived experience.
Petitmengin C. (2006) Describing one’s subjective experience in the second person: An interview method for a science of consciousness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5(3): 229–269. https://cepa.info/2376
This article presents an interview method which enables us to bring a person, who may not even have been trained, to become aware of his or her subjective experience, and describe it with great precision. It is focused on the difficulties of becoming aware of one’s subjective experience and describing it, and on the processes used by this interview technique to overcome each of these difficulties. The article ends with a discussion of the criteria governing the validity of the descriptions obtained, and then with a brief review of the functions of these descriptions.
Contrary to a widespread belief, becoming aware of one’s lived experience is neither immediate nor easy, but supposes a real expertise which has to be learnt. Such training enables us to discover that lived experience associated to the realization of a given cognitive process, far from being a draft, has a very precise dynamic structure: it is constituted of a definite succession of sensations and operations that remains usually pre-reflective. Becoming aware of this dynamic structure opens up highly promising paths for transforming our experience in the medical, therapeutic and existential fields. This awareness also enables researchers to refine neurophysiological analysis, announcing the lifting of the ban that until now excluded subjective experience from the field of scientific investigation.
Petitmengin C., Vincent Navarro & Michel Le Van Quyen (2007) Anticipating seizure: Pre-reflective experience at the center of neuro-phenomenology. Consciousness and Cognition 16: 746–764. https://cepa.info/4452
The purpose of this paper is to show through the concrete example of epileptic seizure anticipation how neuro-dynamic analysis (using new mathematical tools to detect the dynamic structure of the neuro-electric activity of the brain) and ‘‘pheno-dynamic’’ analysis (using new interview techniques to detect the pre-reflective dynamic micro-structure of the cor- responding subjective experience) may guide and determine each other. We will show that this dynamic approach to epi- leptic seizure makes it possible to consolidate the foundations of a cognitive non pharmacological therapy of epilepsy. We will also show through this example how the neuro-phenomenological co-determination could shed new light on the dif- ficult problem of the ‘‘gap’’ which separates subjective experience from neurophysiological activity.
Ramírez-Vizcaya S. (2020) A world-involving theory of agency: review of Sensorimotor Life: An Enactive Proposal by Ezequiel Di Paolo, Thomas Buhrmann, and Xabier Barandiaran. Adaptive Behavior Online first. https://cepa.info/7860
Sensorimotor theory of perception has been criticized for its ambiguity about the need for internal representations and the lack of a proper account of agency and subjective experience. The book under review offers a compelling non-representational, world-involving interpretation, and operationalization of this theory, showing that alternatives to representationalism are viable. It also provides a thought-provoking theory of sensorimotor agency and the pre-reflective experience of action that builds on the enactive notions of autonomy and sense-making. The account provided in this book fits into a radically embodied, enactive, and extended cognitive science. However, the notion of the environment requires further conceptual clarification by the enactive camp.