Neurophenomenology

Neurophenomenology is a research program put forward by F. J. Varela 1996 with the aim of addressing the so-called hard problem of consciousness (Chalmers 1995), the problem of explaining why is it that (neuro)cognitive processes are accompanied by subjective or phenomenal experiences (qualia). Varela maintains that the hard problem of consciousness is not theoretical or metaphysical in nature, but needs to be tackled pragmatically, i.e. by devising “a rigorous method and an explicit pragmatics for its exploration and analysis” (Varela 1996: 330). To this end, the proposed research program seeks pragmatic ways of combining rigorous first-person (phenomenological) analyses (with special emphasis on methods developed by phenomenological movement and contemplative traditions) with cutting-edge neuroscientific accounts (with special emphasis on methods developed in the field of dynamical neuroscience). Varela construes the “working hypothesis of neurophenomenology” as follows: “Phenomenological accounts of the structure of experience and their counterparts in cognitive science relate to each other through reciprocal constraints” (Varela 1996: 343). Phenomenological and neuroscientific accounts are thus methodologically put on an equal footing, with the former guiding and shaping (“constraining”) the approaches taken by the latter, and vice versa.
^ Recommended literature
Valenzuela-Moguillansky C., Vásquez-Rosati A. & Riegler A. (2017) Building a Science of Experience: Neurophenomenology and Related Disciplines. Constructivist Foundations 12(2).: 131–138.
Vörös S., Froese T. & Riegler A. (2016) Epistemological Odyssey: Introduction to Special Issue on the Diversity of Enactivism and Neurophenomenology. Constructivist Foundations 11(2).: 189–204.
^ Versions
Version 1, Sebastjan Vörös, 2 March 2018
^ References
(C1995)  Chalmers D. J. (1995) Facing up to the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2(3): 200-219.
(V1996)  Varela F. J. (1996) Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy to the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3(4).: 330–349.
Related publications (38)

Arístegui R. (2017) Enaction and neurophenomenology in language. In: Ibáñez A., Lucas Sedeño L. & García A. M. (eds.) Neuroscience and social science: The missing linkSpringer, New York: 471–500. https://cepa.info/5711

Ataria Y., Lahad M. & Horovitz O. (2019) Applying the Neurophenomenological Approach to the Study of Trauma: Theory and Practice. Constructivist Foundations 14(2): 197–214. https://cepa.info/5775

Baquedano C. & Fabar C. (2017) Modeling Subjects’ Experience While Modeling the Experimental Design: A Mild-Neurophenomenology-Inspired Approach in the Piloting Phase. Constructivist Foundations 12(2): 166–179. https://cepa.info/4070

Bayne T. (2004) Closing the gap? Some questions for neurophenomenology. Phenomenology and cognitive sciences 3: 349–364. https://cepa.info/2260

Beaton M. (2013) Phenomenology and Embodied Action. Constructivist Foundations 8(3): 298-313. https://cepa.info/907

Bitbol M. & Petitmengin C. (2017) Neurophenomenology and the micro-phenomenological interview. In: Schneider S. & Velmans M. (eds.) The Blackwell companion to consciousness. Second editionWiley & Sons, Hoboken NJ: 726–739. https://cepa.info/4120

Bitbol M. (2008) Is consciousness primary?. NeuroQuantoloy 6(1): 53–72. https://cepa.info/2261

Bitbol M. (2019) Neurophenomenology of surprise. In: Depraz N. & Celle A. (eds.) Surprise at the intersection of phenomenology and linguisticsJohn Benjamins, Amsterdam: 9–21. https://cepa.info/6662

Cariani P. (2015) Sign functions in natural and artificial systems. In: Trifonas P. P. (ed.) International handbook of semioticsSpringer, Dordrecht: 917–950. https://cepa.info/4142

Colombetti G. (2013) Some Ideas for the Integration of Neurophenomenology and Affective Neuroscience. Constructivist Foundations 8(3): 288–297. https://cepa.info/906

Froese T., Gould C. & Barrett A. (2011) Re-Viewing from Within: A Commentary on First- and Second-Person Methods in the Science of Consciousness. Constructivist Foundations 6(2): 254–269. https://cepa.info/208

Gordon S. (2015) Alan Watts and neurophenomenology. Self & Society 43(4): 311–321. https://cepa.info/3739

Khachouf O. T., Poletti S. & Pagnoni G. (2013) The embodied transcendental: A Kantian perspective on neurophenomenology. Frontiers in Human Neurosciences 7: 611. https://cepa.info/4773

Kirchhoff M. D. & Hutto D. D. (2016) Never Mind the Gap: Neurophenomenology, Radical Enactivism, and the Hard Problem of Consciousness. Constructivist Foundations 11(2): 346–353. https://cepa.info/2579

Kordeš U. (2016) Going Beyond Theory: Constructivism and Empirical Phenomenology. Constructivist Foundations 11(2): 375–385. https://cepa.info/2589

Laughlin C. D. & Throop C. J. (2006) Cultural neurophenomenology: Integrating experience, culture and reality through Fisher information. Culture & Psychology 12(3): 305–337. https://cepa.info/6372

Laughlin C. D. & Throop C. J. (2008) Continuity, causation and cyclicity: A cultural neurophenomenology of time-consciousness. Time and Mind 1(2): 159–186. https://cepa.info/6375

Lloyd D. (2013) The Music of Consciousness: Can Musical Form Harmonize Phenomenology and the Brain?. Constructivist Foundations 8(3): 324-331. https://cepa.info/909

Luisi P. L. (2011) My encounters with Francisco Varela. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 28: 689–695. https://cepa.info/3933

Maldonato M. (2009) From neuron to consciousness: For an experience-based neuroscience. World Futures 65(2): 80–93. https://cepa.info/3832

McGee K. (2006) Enactive Cognitive Science. Part 2: Methods, Insights, and Potential. Constructivist Foundations 1(2): 73–82. https://cepa.info/8

Možina M. (2019) Epistemology of hallucinations and hearing voices: The contribution of constructivism and neurophenomenology. Slovenska revija za psihoterapijo Kairos 13(3–4): 27–71. https://cepa.info/6838

Napolitani D. (2002) Essays on and by Francisco Varela: An occasion. European Journal of Psychoanalysis 15(%P). https://cepa.info/5516

Petitmengin C. (2005) Un exemple de recherche neuro-phénoménologique: L’anticipation des crises d’épilepsie [An example of neurophenomenological research: The anticipation of epileptic seizures]. Intellectica 40: 63–89. https://cepa.info/4457

Petitmengin C., Navarro V. & Baulac M. (2006) Seizure anticipation: Are neuro-phenomenological approaches able to detect preictal symptoms?. Epilepsy and Behavior 9: 298–306. https://cepa.info/4454

Solomonova E. & Sha X. W. (2016) Exploring the Depth of Dream Experience: The Enactive Framework and Methods for Neurophenomenological Research. Constructivist Foundations 11(2): 407–416. https://cepa.info/2599

Stewart J. (2019) Neurophenomenology, enaction, and autopoïesis. Behavioral Neuroscience: online first. https://cepa.info/6246

Taylor E. (2013) Déjà vu: William James on “The Brain and the Mind,” 1878: A comment on current trends in neurophenomenology defining the application of James’s radical empiricism to psychology. In: Gordon S. (ed.) Neurophenomenology and its applications to psychologySpringer, New York: 89–114. https://cepa.info/7311

Thompson E. (2006) Neurophenomenology and Contemplative Experience. In: Clayton P. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Science and ReligionOxford University Press,: 226–235. https://cepa.info/2356

Thompson E. (2007) Look Again: Consciousness and Mental Imagery. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6: 137–170. https://cepa.info/2354

Thompson E. (2009) Contemplative Neuroscience as an Approach to Volitional Consciousness. In: Murphey N., Ellis G. F. R. & O’Conner T. (eds.) Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free WillSpringer, Berlin: 187–197. https://cepa.info/2351

Thompson E. (2015) Dreamless Sleep, the Embodied Mind, and Consciousness: The Relevance of a Classical Indian Debate to Cognitive Science. In: Metzinger T. & Windt J. (eds.) Open MINDMind Group, Frankfurt am Main: 37(T). https://cepa.info/2332

Valenzuela-Moguillansky C. & Vásquez-Rosati A. (2019) An Analysis Procedure for the Micro-Phenomenological Interview. Constructivist Foundations 14(2): 123–145. https://cepa.info/5759

Valenzuela-Moguillansky C., Demšar E. & Riegler A. (2021) An Introduction to the Enactive Scientific Study of Experience. Constructivist Foundations 16(2): 133–140. https://cepa.info/6941

Varela A. C. (2002) One idea: On the path of F. J. Varela. European Journal of Psychoanalysis 14: 001. https://cepa.info/4244

Varela F. J. (2002) The point of view of the researcher: The cognitive sciences. European Journal of Psychoanalysis 15(%P). https://cepa.info/5515

Vörös S. & Bitbol M. (2017) Enacting Enaction: A Dialectic Between Knowing and Being. Constructivist Foundations 13(1): 31–40. https://cepa.info/4388

Zaslawski N. (2018) Neurodialectics: A Proposal for Philosophy of Cognitive and Social Sciences. Constructivist Foundations 14(1): 42–55. https://cepa.info/5586