Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the hard problem recasted

In the context of neuroscience and consciousness studies, the 'hard problem' has been discussed. The hard problem of consciousness is "How and why certain physiological or neural processes give rise to subjective and conscious experiences?".

Obviously, this is a modern and modified version of Cartesian mind-body dualism. Hard problem asks the link between
the physical (mechanical activity of the brain) and the mental, after dividing them into two properties. The hard problem, on the one hand, set the mental and the physical in opposition to each other. But on the other hand, it tries to reduce the mental to the physical.

As Thompson (2007) points out, we need to recast the hard problem by focusing on a kind of phenomenon that is already beyond this gap, the life. Life is the living organisms (physiological body), but also the living subjectivity in the phenomenological sense (the lived body). Life=Body appears as a material thing and also a living and feeling being. Thus he recasts the 'mind-body problem' as 'body-body problem'.
[Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Harvard University Press]

One and the same body has two modes of appearance. They are known in German as Körper (material body) and Leib (living body). Thinking phenomenologically, this is one possible answer to the mind-body problem.