Never gap the mind: neurophenomenological and neuropragmatic intervention
The notions of enactivism, and neurophenomenology, as originally exposited by Francisco Varela and colleagues, were introduced into cognitive science as part of a broad philosophical framework encompassing science, European phenomenology, Buddhist philosophy and traces of pragmatism. A recent controversy has emerged about the paradigm’s ultimate capability to offer a convincing and tractable solution to Chalmers’ hard problem voiced by philosophers Daniel Hutto and Michael Kirchhoff. This thesis systematically responds to this challenge by developing a firmer metaphysical base for neurophenomenology and has three broad objectives. Firstly, follow the path of extended neutral monism recently espoused by Chemero and Silberstein but flesh out their idea of a neutral base with a stronger metaphysic. Secondly, continue in the broadly neutral monist vein and argue for a combination of the pragmatist notion of organism-world transaction and modern enactivist theory to refute Chalmers’ naturalistic dualism. Thirdly, and finally, to bring two controversies within enactivist thought about consciousness into a mutually informed resolution with the new theory of pragmatist-enactivism.
Conclusions and directions for further research conclude the thesis.