Monday, May 13, 2013

Bryant on the limitations of phenomenology

Bryant's last 2 blog posts remind me of prior discussions with kela on privileged access. In this one:

"Phenomenology is constitutively unable to think the real of the body.... While phenomenology can certainly describe how we experience our bodies, it never manages to get at the fundamental opacity of body and affect.  The body, as real, is not something given to consciousness or lived experience.  Put differently, our bodies are something we never experience.  At most, we experience the effects of our bodies, never our bodies as such."

And this one:

"We never have direct experience of our bodies and the causes of our affective states.... You can’t experience the organic causes of anything taking place in your body and never have.  Organic causes can only be understood in the natural attitude and from a third person perspective that correlates the descriptions of people with what’s chemically, and through the use of brain scans being detected in bodies.  No one has ever experienced their brain.

"At best, it can give us a “pataphysics” of our bodies, never an ontological ground of embodied experience.  Descriptive analysis can only take us so far and certainly not give us reliable knowledge of causes where our bodies are concerned because our real bodies are withdrawn from us.  If we uncritically accept the descriptions of phenomenological approaches and semiological approaches, we risk misconstruing all sorts of issues.  Oddly only a third person approach coupled with first person descriptions can give us any insight into the real body."

Which of course reminds me of the Thompson thread, which focus is the combination of 1st and 3rd person methods. I still think though Thompson relies too much on phenomenology, as if it can provide accurate access to the real, even though he said this:

"But whereas the Advaitin takes this minimal selfhood to be a transcendental witness consciousness, I think itʼs open to us to maintain that it is my embodied self or bodily subjectivity, or what phenomenologists would call my pre-personal lived body. In this way, I think we can remove the Advaita conception of dreamless sleep from its native metaphysical framework and graft it onto a naturalist conception of the embodied mind."

I commented later on:

I think the above de/re also handles the epistemic fallacy because what is being accessed is a tonic attention that is fully embodied and thereby limited by that embodied constraint. Such a consciousness without an object doesn't lay claim to access to the reality of All, or even access to all of our personal cognitive unconscious or collective unconscious. It's just accessing that embodied part of our natural awareness available to us by virtue of having the body and brain we do, with all its limitations.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.