Publication 4363

Varela F. J. (2002) Consciousness in the neurosciences: A conversation with Sergio Benvenuto. Journal of European Psychoanalysis 14: 109–122. Fulltext at
In this interview Francisco Varela traces the history of the development of consciousness studies and discusses the developments in contemporary cognitive neurosciences that have allowed consciousness to become an object of scientific study. From the experimental side, advances in non-invasive brain-imaging techniques make possible original research on neural correlates during cognitive tasks. But a non-reductionist science of cognition must take into account not only the brain, but also the fact that experience happens in the entire organism (embodiment), that itself is situated or “coupled” with the world. The notions of emergence and reciprocal causality are keys for conceptualizing this embodied, situated subject of experience. Finally, phenomenological reduction is seen as a necessary partner in scientific research, providing “first-person” accounts of experience that are correlated to the “third-person,” or experimental data, i.e. the neurophenomenology research program.

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