Does the coordination of practices allow to reconcile subjective experience and science ?


22 avril 2020

15h00 - 17h00

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The existence of subjective, phenomenal experience is often taken to form a paradigm case of where the manifest and the scientific image clash. How can my experience of this red ever be reconciled with the objective scientific understanding of wavelengths and bodily or neural processes? I will propose  an identification theory of mind, based on, but with significant additions to, the mind/brain identity theory. Crucially, it construes both experiencing and theorizing in terms of active engagements. According to the identification theory, the apparent clash between unreflective experience and theory can then be traced to a difference between engaging in different practices. The key to reconciliation lies in practices of identification: further practices in which we forge ways to connect between two (or more) other practices. I’ll argue that such coordination of practices  not only offers a way out of the problem of how qualitative experience can be brought to terms with science, but holds promise to lay to rest the idea that there is an unresolvable clash between the manifest and the scientific in general. 

Erik Myin (UAntwerp).