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Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind$
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David Woodruff Smith and Amie L. Thomasson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272457

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272457.001.0001

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Phenomenology and Cortical Microstimulation *

Phenomenology and Cortical Microstimulation *

(p.140) 6 Phenomenology and Cortical Microstimulation *
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind

John Bickle (Contributor Webpage)

Ralph Ellis

Oxford University Press

Many believe that phenomenology is an uneasy fit with the notion that consciousness is simply produced by physical manipulations. This chapter takes one of the most provocative examples of this type of manipulation — cortical microstimulation leading to seemingly random conscious states such as the image of one's grandmother or a musical melody — and shows that such phenomena are not only consistent with Husserlian phenomenology, but actually underscore the importance of Husserl's careful distinctions. It guards against conflating ‘physical’ with ‘empirically observable’ by falling into the natural attitude and unwarrantedly equating the ‘perceived object’ with the corresponding ‘physical object’ that supposedly causes the perception, and then equating both of those with the ‘intentional’ object. There can be an intentional object with no physical object, and subserved only by a physical brain event. But this does not detract from the intentional meaning of the object-as-experienced. In this kind of example, it shows more clearly than ever Husserl's distinction between the noesis and the noema within each intentional experience.

Keywords:   cortical microstimulation, intentionality, phenomenology, Husserl, perception, noesis, noema

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