BSP Podcast: Bence Marosan – Phenomenological biology: a proposal

podcast update

Season one of our podcast continues with another panel presentation from the British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference in 2016.

Season 1 episode 6: 6 January 2017

This recording is of Bence Marosan’s presentation ‘Phenomenological biology: A proposal for future phenomenology’. You can listen to this episode on the BSP’s Podbean site, and you can also find it on iTunes and all good podcasting apps by searching ‘BSP Podcast’.

Abstract: “Perhaps the most important question of phenomenology concerns the nature and origin of consciousness. The core of my paper is the thought that one cannot answer this question without the intensive research of lower levels of biological nature (first of all: the biology of lower level animals [invertebrata] and of microbes) and phenomenological reflections on these researches. That is to say: in my opinion the key to the progress of future phenomenology is a highly elaborated phenomenological biology. The intimate connection between phenomenology and biology has a long history and a widespread, rich context. We can find it in Husserl, who said that biology has “a special proximity to the sources evidence”, and “that its access to transcendental philosophy should be the easiest” (Husserliana 6: 483), we can find it in Merleau-Ponty, and in the classical and contemporary authors of phenomenological anthropology, today – amongst others – in Eco-phenomenology and Neuro-phenomenology. So we can ask with a good reason: what would be the novelty of this present project in comparison with the already existing, biologically oriented phenomenological philosophies? I propose two, strongly related central topics for a future phenomenologically interpreted biology: the problem of demarcation of conscious and non-conscious living beings and the problem of information. My idea is that we can separate conscious and non-conscious beings from each other, and also unfold the very nature of consciousness, by a closer analysis of how organisms handle and process information. That is to say: in my opinion a phenomenology of information could help us to penetrate the shell of objectivity toward subjective immanence. There have been interesting attempts in this field in the last decades (e.g. Introna-Whittaker, 2003), but the most interesting, most exciting discoveries are still waiting to be achieved.”

The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK during September, 2016. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found here.