On Becoming Aware

A pragmatics of experiencing

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This book searches for the sources and means for a disciplined practical approach to exploring human experience. The spirit of this book is <i>pragmatic</i> and relies on a Husserlian phenomenology primarily understood as a <i>method</i> of exploring our experience. The authors do not aim at a neo-Kantian <i>a priori</i> ‘new theory’ of experience but instead they describe a concrete activity: how we examine what we live through, how we <i>become aware</i> of our own mental life. The range of experiences of which we can become aware is vast: all the normal dimensions of human life (perception, motion, memory, imagination, speech, everyday social interactions), cognitive events that can be precisely defined as tasks in laboratory experiments (e.g., a protocol for visual attention), but also manifestations of mental life more fraught with meaning (dreaming, intense emotions, social tensions, altered states of consciousness). The central assertion in this work is that this immanent ability is habitually ignored or at best practiced unsystematically, that is to say, blindly. Exploring human experience amounts to developing and cultivating this basic ability through specific training. Only a hands-on, non-dogmatic approach can lead to progress, and that is what animates this book. (Series B)

Subjects: Cognitive psychology; Consciousness research

  • Affiliations: 1: Université de la Sorbonne (Paris IV); 2: LENA, CNRS & CREA, Paris; 3: CNRS, Paris

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