Phenomenological approaches to consciousness


Phenomenology involves a first-person approach to consciousness. Husserl initiated phenomenology as a transcendental investigation in opposition to naturalism. It includes a methodologically guided analysis of intentionality as the primary characteristic of consciousness. Phenomenology also addresses the issue of the phenomenal character of consciousness tied to the notion of pre-reflective self-awareness, to embodiment, and to variations in intentional structures. It also offers a detailed analysis of the temporal nature of consciousness which helps to explain not only how one can have a coherent experience of an object, but also how the subject of experience - a pre-reflective self - can maintain identity over time. Husserl and later phenomenologists, like Merleau-Ponty, emphasized the embodied nature of consciousness in a way that foreshadowed recent enactivist accounts.

Publication Title

The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness