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The Fringe: A Case Study in Explanatory Phenomenology

By Dr. Bruce B. Mangan


William James’ greatest achievement is, arguably, his analysis of the fringe — or, as he sometimes called it, transitive experience. In trying to understand this vague, elusive, often peripheral aspect of consciousness, James broke new ground. But in so doing he also began to lay down the first stratum of a radically new methodology, one that intersects first- and third-person findings in such a way that each is able to interrogate the other, and so further our understanding of both....\ud \ud But I think it is important to see that explanatory phenomenology can be completely scientific without necessarily having to (1) consider the neural substrate, (2) employ reductive arguments, or (3) operate at the third-person level. If I am right, explanatory phenomenology can be a remarkably plastic member of the set of first-person methodologies for the study of consciousness

Topics: Cognitive Psychology
Year: 1996
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    1. (1995). 1996; 1997) has forcefully made a point that I consider to be extremely important for the study of consciousness, also from a Husserlian perspective. The point is that conscious experience is ‘an explanandum in its own right’
    2. (1988). A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness (New York,
    3. (1993). Taking phenomenology seriously: the ‘fringe’ and its implications for cognitive research,’

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