Friday, July 16, 2010

"Heidegger and Cognitive Science," Phenomenology and Philosophy Research Group (EPiPHENy), University of Edinburgh, October 27, 2010.

Phenomenological philosophy is experiencing a resurgence in use among contemporary philosophers of mind, particularly those interested in the intersection of cognition and embodiment. We can account for some of the increased popularity with recent neurological research that describes isomorphisms and dissociations that were previously postulated by the phenomenological tradition. It seems likely that other interesting empirical work can benefit both from phenomenological interpretation and conceptual schemas. The work of a key figure of the phenomenological tradition, Martin Heidegger, has played a role in the history of cognitive science, but we contend that there are further depths to be plumbed that can yield new and valuable insights for modern philosophers working in this field.

Michael Wheeler has argued that not only is a shift towards a more Heideggerian approach warranted among the cognitive sciences, but that current empirical work is already shifting in that direction – and philosophers have to catch up. Criticizing this approach, Matthew Ratcliffe, rejects the idea that Heidegger’s ideas can be naturalized to the extent for it to be useful to the natural sciences. The work of both philosophers will be published in a collected volume edited by Michael Wheeler and Julian Kiverstein, forthcoming later this year. We have secured the support of the aforementioned philosophers in participating in the workshop.

The workshop seeks to introduce key Heideggerian ideas to the participants in a conceptually clear manner - hoping to scrupulously avoid the obscurism sometimes attributed to continental thinkers – and link them to contemporary empirical research and philosophical debate. Emphasis will be placed on the ramifications pro and con for adopting a Heideggerian stance towards philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

Visit the conference website here:

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