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Neurophenomenology

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Neurophenomenology is a hybrid scientific methodology that combines neuroscience with phenomenological philosophy in order to study consciousness. It is an interdisciplinary approach, the label for which was coined by Charles Laughlin, John McManus and Eugene d'Aquili in their 1990 book, Brain, Symbol and Experience: Toward a Neurophenomenology of Consciousness (New York: Columbia University Press).

Phenomenology is a philosophical tradition that dates at least to Hegel in the early 19th century, and deals with the subjective aspects of first person experience. Phenomenology as a method for discovering invariant structures of experience most closely associated with the work of Edmund Husserl. Neuroscience of course is the study of the brain, and deals with the objective and third person aspects of consciousness. Many scientists studying consciousness believe that the exclusive utilization of either first or third person methods will not provide answers to the questions of consciousness. Some neurophenomenologists, such as the Biogenetic Structuralism group, suggest that invariant patterns and structures discovered in first person explorations of consciousness may find their explanation in the physiology and functioning of the brain.

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