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.

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.

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.

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

Beaton M. (2013) Phenomenology and Embodied Action. Constructivist Foundations 8(3): 298-313.

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.

Bitbol M. (2008) Is consciousness primary?. NeuroQuantoloy 6(1): 53–72.

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

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

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

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.

Gordon S. (2015) Alan Watts and neurophenomenology. Self & Society 43(4): 311–321.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Stewart J. (2019) Neurophenomenology, enaction, and autopoïesis. Behavioral Neuroscience: online first.

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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.

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

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

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

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