Cover of Naturalizing Phenomenology by Edited by Jean Petitot, Francisco J. Varela, Bernard Pachoud, and Jean-Michel Roy
Naturalizing Phenomenology
Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science
Edited by Jean Petitot, Francisco J. Varela, Bernard Pachoud, and Jean-Michel Roy


672 pages.
from $50.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804733229
Paperback ISBN: 9780804736107


Excerpts and More

This ambitious work aims to shed new light on the relations between Husserlian phenomenology and the present-day efforts toward a scientific theory of cognition—with its complex structure of disciplines, levels of explanation, and conflicting hypotheses.

The book’s primary goal is not to present a new exegesis of Husserl’s writings, although it does not dismiss the importance of such interpretive and critical work. Rather, the contributors assess the extent to which the kind of phenomenological investigation Husserl initiated favors the construction of a scientific theory of cognition, particularly in contributing to specific contemporary theories either by complementing or by questioning them. What clearly emerges is that Husserlian phenomenology cannot become instrumental in developing cognitive science without undergoing a substantial transformation. Therefore, the central concern of this book is not only the progress of contemporary theories of cognition but also the reorientation of Husserlian phenomenology.

Because a single volume could never encompass the numerous facets of this dual aim, the contributors focus on the issue of naturalization. This perspective is far-reaching enough to allow for the coverage of a great variety of topics, ranging from general structures of intentionality, to the nature of the founding epistemological and ontological principles of cognitive science, to analyses of temporality and perception and the mathematical modeling of their phenomenological description.

This book, then, is a collective reflection on the possibility of utilizing a naturalized Husserlian phenomenology to contribute to a scientific theory of cognition that fills the explanatory gap between the phenomenological mind and brain.

About the authors

Jean Petitot is Directeur d'Etudes at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Francisco J. Varela is Directeur de Recherches at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. Bernard Pachoud is Maître de Conférences at the Université de Picardie. Jean-Michel Roy is Maître de Conférences at the Université Michel de Montaigne (Bordeaux).

"Every student of cognition will somewhere in [Naturalizing Phenomenology] find something new and interesting."

APA Review of Books