The Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society
University of Bristol, 15th & 16th September 2012
Deadline for submissions: 1st May 2012
*** Conference Registration is Now Open – Early Registration Until June 30th ***
Standard approaches to understanding consciousness have found their progress interrupted by the explanatory gap purported to exist between the qualitative nature of experience and the quantitative nature of science. Whether it’s third-person scientific methods, which do not easily transfer from observation of the physical to the first-person nature of experience, or phenomenological study, which focuses on the analysis of experience whilst bracketing off theory, there would appear to be an insurmountable difficulty.
These problems are apparently avoided by the neurophenomenological method as first suggested by Francisco Varela (1996). Neurophenomenology operates by investigating the structural parallels between experience, as investigated by the phenomenological method, and the activity of biological systems, as investigated empirically with a particular emphasis on the insights of dynamical systems theory.
The conference will examine the aims and practices of neurophenomenology in an attempt to gauge its success at eradicating the explanatory gap. Our concerns include two core strands:
- A consideration of neurophenomenology’s radical method, which requires subjects be trained in the practice of epoché and phenomenological reduction
In this strand, we aim to address: the possibility of performing a successful and complete suspension of theories and beliefs about experience; the ability of participants and experimenters to develop open questions which disclose stable experiential invariants; the construction of valid methods of intersubjective corroboration.
- An evaluation of neurophenomenology’s approach to dynamical systems theory
Addressing questions such as: How should biological systems best be studied, in order to elucidate structural parallels with phenomenal experience? What can dynamical systems theory contribute to such a study? How, and to what degree, can formal models ever capture experiential structure?
As ever, we aim to hold a conference accessible to all with a broad interest in the academic study of conscious experience. We invite submissions from the full range of academic disciplines with an interest in neurophenomenology, including psychology, philosophy (both analytic and continental), biology, dynamical systems theory and neuroscience.
Prof. Michel Bitbol – Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), at the Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA), Ecole Polytechnique, Paris
Prof. Natalie Depraz – Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Rouen; Associated researcher, CREA, Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS, Paris
Dr. Claire Petitmengin – Senior Lecturer, Department of Languages and Human Sciences, Institut Télécom, Evry, Essonne; Associated researcher, CREA, Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS, Paris
Dr. Elena Antonova – Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London
Wills Hall, University of Bristol
(Accommodation and meals will be available at the conference venue on the 14th, 15th and 16th September, and can be booked via the conference website.)
Submission of work for presentation in paper or poster format (please specify if you have a preference for poster only) is now open. Non-keynote paper presentations will be 30-minute slots, approximately 20 minutes for the talk and 10 for questions.
Abstracts of up to 300 words should be sent to Dr. Michael Beaton (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the 1st May. Please include name and affiliation for all authors.
Submission deadline: 1st May 2012
Responses by: 31st May 2012
Early Registration Deadline: 30th June 2012
Conference: 15th & 16th September 2012