Volume 12, 2007
Philosophical Trends in the XXth Century
Phenomenology Encounters Cognitive Science
Naturalizing Conscious Embodiment
The paper argues for the relevance of phenomenology for the contemporary debate about a naturalistic explanation of phenomenal c o n s c i o u s n e s s . Phenomenology's analysis of intentionality in terms of the conscious act, its representational content and the intentional object sustains an interpretation of qualia as intrinsic, nonrepresentational properties of the conscious mental acts themselves and not of their content. On the basis of this anti-representationalist clarification of the nature of qualia, the paper substantiates the claim for a more comprehensive naturalistic explanation of embodiment. A phenomenological, i.e. noetico-noematical, analysis of bodily experience helps to integrate the role of the lived body in accepted psycho-physical explanations of conscious embodiment (for instance of proprioception). Furthermore and more importantly, noetical phenomenology identifies a proper bodily self-awareness, consisting of sensations localized on the lived body, as the quale of conscious embodiment. It is maintained that naturalizing embodiment demands a radical explanation of the conditions of possibility of this bodily self-awareness.