SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

SOPhiA ToolsDE-pageEN-page

Programme - Talk

Cognitive Phenomenal Presence
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

Fabian Dorsch (2018) distinguishes two kinds of features that are phenomenally present (i.e., that make a subjective difference to one__s conscious experience) in perception: (1) object-directed phenomenal properties: features that seemingly belong to the object of the experience (e.g., red, blue, cold, hot, etc.); (2) experience-directed phenomenal properties: features that seemingly belong to the experience itself (e.g., blurriness, mineness, etc.). In this talk, I shall apply this same distinction to cognitive phenomenal states. I will thus distinguish between object-directed phenomenal features of thought and experience-directed phenomenal features of thought. Object-directed phenomenal features of thoughts are those features that seemingly belong to the object of the thought. Naturally, this presupposes a clarification of the ambiguous expression __object of thought__. For our phenomenological task, I shall assume that our thoughts are transparent to their referents, and that the expression __objects of thought__ refers to such referents as they are intended by us. Considering as an example the state of thinking of Pegasus, the object-directed phenomenal features of such thought will thus be: being winged, being white, being non-existent, belonging to Bellerophon, and so on. To the category of experience-directed phenomenal features of thought belong those features that pertain to the phenomenology of experiencing a given thought. Continuing with our Pegasus example, some of these features will be: being thought at this moment, being thought in English, belonging thought by me, feeling irreal, feeling mind-dependent, and so on. In the concluding part of my talk, I will suggest that the sceptics of cognitive phenomenology tend to ignore the second category of features or conflate it with the first category, thereby reducing it to the phenomenology of the associated sensory imagery. My proposed taxonomy is not an argument in favour of the existence of cognitive phenomenology, but it can be a helpful tool to clarify what cognitive phenomenology is and why it cannot be simply reduced to sensory phenomenology. The upshot of this project is to move away from the standard negative definition of cognitive phenomenology (i.e., as what cognitive phenomenology is not, namely non-sensory phenomenology) towards a positive definition.


Bayne, Tim and Montague, Michelle, eds. (2011). Cognitive Phenomenology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dorsch, Fabian (2018). __Phenomenal Presence. An Introduction to the Debate__. In Fabian Dorsch & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Phenomenal Presence. Oxford University Press.

Husserl, Edmund (1900-1901). Logical Investigations. Vol. II. Translated by J. N. Findlay. Ed. by Moran D. English edition London: Routledge, 2001.

Jorba, Marta (2016). __Attitudinal Cognitive Phenomenology and the Horizon of Possibilities__. In Breyer T. & Christopher G. (eds.), The Phenomenology of Thinking. Philosophical Investigations into the Character of Cognitive Experiences. Routledge. pp. 77-96.

Kriegel, Uriah (2015). __The Character of Cognitive Phenomenology__. In T. Breyer & C. Gutland (eds.), Phenomenology of Thinking. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 25-43.

Kriegel, Uriah (2019). __The Perception/Cognition Divide: One More Time, with Feeling__. In C. Limbeck-Lilienau and F. Stadler (eds.), The Philosophy of Perception and Observation. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter (2019). Pitt, David (2004). __The Phenomenology of Cognition, Or, What Is It Like to Think That P?__. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):1-36.

Prinz, Jesse (2011). __The Sensory Basis of Cognitive Phenomenology__. In Tim Bayne & Michelle Montague (eds.), Cognitive Phenomenology. Oxford University Press. pp. 174--196.

Robinson, William S. (2011). A frugal view of cognitive phenomenology. In Tim Bayne and Michelle Montague (ed.), Cognitive Phenomenology. Oxford University Press. pp. 197. Siewert, Charles P. (1998). The Significance of Consciousness. Princeton University Press. Tye, Michael & Wright, Briggs (2011). __Is there a phenomenology of thought?__. In Tim Bayne & Michelle Montague (eds.), Cognitive Phenomenology. Oxford University Press. pp. 35.

Time: 11:20-11:50, 08 September 2022 (Thursday)
Location: HS E.002

Valentina Martinis 
(CEU, Austria)

Testability and Meaning deco