Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Contemporary Philosophy of Life, Osaka Prefecture University


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[Discussion Paper]

Phenomenological Skillful Coping
: Another Counter-Argument to Daniel Dennett’s

Jethro Masís

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.2, No.1 (March 2012):67-91



This paper deals with Daniel Dennett’s well-known charges against phenomenological philosophy as an endevour to restore the rights of introspection: that is, the attempt, albeit doomed to failure, to contribute to the science of the mind from a purported incorrigible, ineffable and ‘subjective’ (interpreted as ‘private’) first-person perspective. According to Dennett’s heterophenomenology, only a strict third-person method is possible when it comes to the scientific study of the mind. I will dispute Dennett’s method in order to do both: correct Dennett’s caricaturization of
phenomenological philosophy as naïve introspection and offer not only a clarification of phenomenology’s true aims and scope, but also a case in which phenomenology will stand as a crucial option in the new studies of the mind, under the sigh of fresh air that can be found in the new approaches to cognitive science (the so-called 4EA approaches: embodied, embedded, extended, enacted, affective). By way of introducing the concept of ‘phenomenological skillful-coping,’ an affirmative respond to Dennett’s own question shall be given: “Is there anything about experience that is not explorable by heterophenomenology? I’d like to know what.” The answer to Dennett should be firm: Yes there is! No less than the most basic non-theoretical, non-representational, embodied and embedded, human experience or coping.

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