Subjectivity, nature, existence: Foundational issues for enactive phenomenology

Dissertation, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2023)
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This thesis explores and discusses foundational issues concerning the relationship between phenomenological philosophy and the enactive approach to cognitive science, with the aim of clarifying, developing, and promoting the project of enactive phenomenology. This project is framed by three general ideas: 1) that the sciences of mind need a phenomenological grounding, 2) that the enactive approach is the currently most promising attempt to provide mind science with such a grounding, and 3) that this attempt involves both a naturalization of phenomenology and a phenomenologization of the concept of nature. More specifically, enactive phenomenology is the project of pursuing mutually illuminative exchanges between, on the one hand, phenomenological investigations of the structures of lived experience and embodied existence and, on the other, scientific accounts of mind and life – in particular those framed by theories of biological self-organization. The thesis consists of two parts. Part one is an introductory essay that seeks to clarify some of enactive phenomenology’s overarching philosophical commitments by tracing some of its historical roots. Part two is a compilation of four articles, each of which intervenes in a different contemporary debate relevant to the dissertation’s project.

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Thomas Netland
University of Agder


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