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Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040035

The Natural Philosophy of Experiencing

1
Department of Cognitive Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA 92627-5100, USA
2
Department of Humanities, Social and Political Science, ETH Zürich, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies)
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Abstract

A new philosophy of nature is urgently needed. The received ontological view, physicalism, is unable to account for experiential phenomena and in particular for consciousness in all its varieties. We shall outline the concept of experiencing which should figure as a new conceptual primitive in natural philosophy. Experiencing refers to a process which comprises the interaction of an agent with its world through action based on phenomenal experience. This process can be viewed under two different aspects. One regards the subjective aspect of experiencing, the other one regards it in terms of physical objects. The first case illustrates the “what-it-is-likeness” of experiencing, the second illustrates how experiencing gets “objectified” in nature. We furthermore wish to delineate our concept of experiencing from the concept of (meta-cognitive) awareness. Scientific theories that explain how awareness comes about in sufficiently organized brains should respect the distinction between experiencing and awareness. We also sketch how experiencing could be related to theoretical biology in terms of information processing by organisms. Experiencing is non-exclusive; it refers to a primitive and a-personal natural process and not to a property possessed only by humans or other persons. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural philosophy; subjective experience; process; dual aspects; consciousness; information-theory; theoretical biology; 1st-person and 3rd-person perspectives natural philosophy; subjective experience; process; dual aspects; consciousness; information-theory; theoretical biology; 1st-person and 3rd-person perspectives
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Prentner, R. The Natural Philosophy of Experiencing. Philosophies 2018, 3, 35.

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