Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 22, 2022


Zixuan Liu
Pages 371-391

Why and How Transcendental Phenomenology Should Interact with Neuroscience

Current dialogues in neuroscience are limited to phenomenological psychology plus neuroscience, or neurophenomenology. Within these dialogues, transcendental phenomenology is largely expelled. This article proposes a transcendental phenomenology of and through neuroscience. The “phenomenology‑of ” neuroscience is a philosophy that refuses to view the Experience‑Body Relation and Life‑Non‑Life Ambiguity as if they were predetermined, unintelligible, metaphysical gaps. Instead, it attempts to understand them through a correlative intentional experience involving activities of neuro‑scientific investigation and their pre‑theoretical prerequisites. This establishes the indispensability of self‑report and highlights the failings of two naturalistic interpretations of intentionality (representationalism and enactivism). A “phenomenology‑through” neuroscience is thus justifiable and necessary, as illustrated by the example of memory consolidation during sleep. The article finds that as phenomenology‑plus, neurophenomenology can solve its problems only through a mutually constraining “phenomenology‑of ” and “‑through”.