Volume 17 · Number 2 · Pages 101–114
Enacting the “Body” of Neurophenomenology: Off-Radar First-Person Methodologies in Pragmatics of Experiencing

Jakub Petri & Artur Gromadzki

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Context: Recent discussions in neurophenomenology pointed out the difference between its current state and how it was initially proposed by Francisco Varela. This discrepancy was characterized by Claire Petitmengin as the difference between mild and radical neurophenomenology, arguing that only the latter is able to dissolve the subjective-objective experiential gap. Problem: Radical neurophenomenology invites us to explore the co-constitution of the subjective and objective poles in lived experience. However, this proposal has led to some concerns regarding its implementation. We point out that the issue goes deeper than that of just developing an appropriate know-how. It concerns the difficulty of conceptually grasping the “overcoming” of the subjective-objective split, both in our lived experience and at the paradigmatic/theoretical level. Method: We propose that neurophenomenology has to embrace its pluralistic and open-ended nature - destabilizing first-third person connections through the process of constant (methodological) refinements. A key component of this process is the exploration of various first-person methodologies. We reflect on the characteristics of first-person methodology, and how different approaches can foster the study of different “sectors” of lived experience, as well as provide unique frameworks for intersubjective corroboration. We compare first-person methodologies to skilled performance, which varies with each instance of neurophenomenological methodology. Consequently, we present three body-oriented first-person disciplines: somatics, somaesthetics and emersiology. Results: Each discipline shares the same assumptions as neurophenomenology with regard to the notion of living/lived body and the pragmatics of experiencing, focusing on first-third person dynamics. Moreover, each of them addresses (the problem of) meliorations of lived experience, echoing the process of constant refinement. Implications: Enacting the original principles of neurophenomenology requires a shift from condensing phenomenal data to a narrow framework of particular “phenomenology,” to accounting for a malleable frame of intersubjectively valid data. During the constant refinement process, new standards and methodological procedures are established, creating new “frames” for the validation of data stemming from a given first-person method. Constructivist content: Our proposal stems from the enactive approach proposed by Varela and others. Additionally, the proposed pragmatic notion of constant refinement can be deemed to be a constructivist methodology.

Key words: Emersiology, first-person methodologies, lived body, lived experience, neurophenomenology, pragmatics of experiencing, somaesthetics, somatics


Petri J. & Gromadzki A. (2022) Enacting the “body” of neurophenomenology: Off-radar first-person methodologies in pragmatics of experiencing. Constructivist Foundations 17(2): 101–114. https://constructivist.info/17/2/101

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