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In the no-man's land between cognitive science, phenomenological philosophy and spiritual praxes: methodological problems of first-person inquiry

Dr. Urban Kordeš

Center for Cognitive Science & Laboratory for Empirical Phenomenology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Seminario Transdisciplinar


When observing experience - the observation itself influences (or even replaces) previous experience. This strange characteristic of subjective experience as a research domain - often called “refrigerator light” or “excavation” fallacy - spells trouble for a naturalistic minded researcher. How to think about the research domain in which the observation changes (or even constructs) the observed phenomena?

In order to be able to make sense of first-person inquiry, re-thinking of some basic presuppositions, traditionally underlying the notion of scientific investigation, is needed. These include presupposition of the research domain existing independently from the gesture of observation, but also standard notions of the subordinate nature of relationship between a researcher and a subject, as well as the equation of notions of empirical and naturalistic research.

Based on some practical examples from the work of Laboratory for empirical phenomenology, the lecture will address the methodological challenges to first-person research and offer some surprising (and contra-intuitive) solutions. It will be argued that the open-ended empirical research into subjective experience is possible (and very muc