Irreducible Cognitive Phenomenology and the AHA! Experience

Phenomenology and Mind 10:108-121 (2016)
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Elijah Chudnoff’s case for irreducible cognitive phenomenology hinges on seeming to see the truth of a mathematical proposition (Chudnoff 2015). In the following, I develop an augmented version of Chudnoff’s case, not based on seeming to see, or intuition, but based on being in a state with presentational phenomenology of high-level content. In contrast to other cases for cognitive phenomenology, those based on Strawson’s case (Strawson 2011), I argue that the case presented here is able to withstand counterarguments, which attempt to reduce cognitive phenomenology to sensory phenomenology. To support my argument, I present findings from Bowden and Jung-Beeman’s experiments with the Aha! Experience (Bowden & Jung-Beeman 2004), and argue that the Aha! Experience is a species of the experience of understanding presented here. I interpret the results of these experiments to provide further evidence for irreducible cognitive phenomenology.

Author's Profile

John Dorsch
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München


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