Volume 14 · Number 1 · Pages 42–55
Neurodialectics: A Proposal for Philosophy of Cognitive and Social Sciences

Nicolas Zaslawski

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Context: Most recent attempts to define cognition dialectically lack the philosophical completeness necessary to explain neurocognitive and mental processes. Problem: Under what conditions could neurophenomenology be thought of as dialectical and what would be the implications of such a conception for contemporary issues such as “social cognition” and phenomenological subjectivity? Method: I assess dialectical approaches to neurocognitive processes and mind mostly within the recent neurophenomenological literature and provide reasons as to why these approaches could be further improved using Hegel’s conception of dialectical processes. Results: As suggested in the context of research on extended cognition, mostly by Gallagher and Crisafi, a cognitively shaped understanding of Hegel’s philosophy allows us to understand how neurophenomenology can be conceptualized dialectically. It allows us to conceive precisely of how dialectical processes can help shape our understanding of cognition from individual neurocognitive operations to socially embedded processes. A dialectical interpretation of Varela’s conception of neurocognitive processes can help achieve the endeavor of recent sociological work to understand the “continuity” from individual to social “entities” through a “relational ontology.” This amounts to expanding, through a neurodialectical framework, Gallagher’s research on extended cognition as well as articulating it with his most recent conception of “decentered” cognition. Implications: Neurodialectics has straightforward implications for phenomenological understandings of subjectivity as well as for recent sociological research: in both cases, it can provide us with a philosophically meaningful and empirically sustainable framework. In particular, it could help philosophically expand Gallagher’s “decentered” model of brainhood. Constructivist Content: I argue in favor of a general philosophical perspective, the neurodialectical one, stressing the “primacy of moulding on being.”

Key words: Dialectics, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, neurophenomenology, philosophy of social science, philosophy of cognitive science.


Zaslawski N. (2018) Neurodialectics: A proposal for philosophy of cognitive and social sciences. Constructivist Foundations 14(1): 42–55. http://constructivist.info/14/1/042

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