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Phenomenology: An Introduction



Phenomenology: An Introduction

Stephan Kaufer, Anthony Chemero

ISBN: 978-0-745-65147-7 June 2015 Polity 224 Pages

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This comprehensive new book introduces the core history of phenomenology and assesses its relevance to contemporary psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. From critiques of artificial intelligence research programs to ongoing work on embodiment and enactivism, the authors trace how phenomenology has produced a valuable framework for analyzing cognition and perception, whose impact on contemporary psychological and scientific research, and philosophical debates continues to grow.

The first part of An Introduction to Phenomenology is an extended overview of the history and development of phenomenology, looking at its key thinkers, focusing particularly on Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, as well as its cultural and intellectual precursors. In the second half Chemero and Käufer turn their attention to the contemporary interpretations and uses of phenomenology in cognitive science, showing that phenomenology is a living source of inspiration in contemporary interdisciplinary studies of the mind.

Käufer and Chemero have written a clear, jargon-free account of phenomenology, providing abundant examples and anecdotes to illustrate and to entertain. This book is an ideal introduction to phenomenology and cognitive science for the uninitiated, as well as for philosophy and psychology students keen to deepen their knowledge.


Chapter 1. Kant and Wundt: 18th and 19th Century Background

Chapter 2. Edmund Husserl and Transcendental Phenomenology

Chapter 3. Martin Heidegger and Existential Phenomenology

Chapter 4. Gestalt Psychology

Chapter 5. Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The Body and Perception

Chapter 6. Jean-Paul Sartre: Phenomenological existentialism

Chapter 7. James J. Gibson and Ecological Psychology

Chapter 8. Hubert Dreyfus and the Phenomenological Critique of Cognitivism

Chapter 9. Phenomenological Cognitive Science


"A highly readable introduction to both phenomenology and to its relationship to the embodied cognition approach to understanding the mind… this book presents an unique approach."
Ginger Campbell MD, Brain Science Podcast

This is an extremely well-conceived and well-executed project. By focusing on perception and cognition, the authors both show the contemporary relevance of phenomenology, and provide an excellent introduction to the phenomenological movement in philosophy. I also know of no other introductory text on phenomenology that is so relentlessly clear and jargon free. The authors have done a magnificent job of offering a coherent, sensible, illuminating, and fascinating review of the development of phenomenology and a justification of its enduring importance to philosophy.
Mark Adam Wrathall, University of California Riverside