Matjaž Potrč – PHENOMENA AND PSYCHOLOGY (Phenomenological papers)

Phenomenological heritage is close to the philosophy of mind and to the cognitive science. Brentano’s conception of phenomena is the beginning of phenomenology, and it provides a tool for its understanding, all the way to the ecological intentionality of Heidegger’s being-in-the-world. Husserl’s work is a transition from the descriptive towards an ecological and dynamic intentionality. Analytical philosophy and phenomenology are compatible. Naturalism is close to both schools of thought. Phenomenology is concerned with an account of phenomena as intentional entities. Organic unity characterizes both phenomenology and cognitive science. Organic unity may be externalized and it needs to be ecologized. The basic distinction is between higher cognitive level including perception and thoughts, and a lower cognitive level involving sensations. Both these levels are joined in organisms. An additional thesis claims that organisms are the only entities. Sensations are assigned an autonomous cognitive level, besides to the level of higher cognition. Concepts and sensations harbor similar mechanisms of individuation. In his reistic phase Brentano subverted the Aristotelian understanding of substance and accident, by looking at phenomena as accidental wholes with substance as their proper part. Such understanding of intentionality allows to look at organic unity as characteristic for various breeds of phenomenology. Husserl’s work on thing and space is analysed as a careful description of perception beginning with the static and ending with the dynamic ecological model. The resulting ecologism shows Husserl’s vicinity to Heidegger’s concept of an organism’s being-in-the-world. Key for Heidegger’s understanding of intentionality in his early work is found in the ecological Gibsonian model that looks at intentionality as a skilful practical involvement of the organism. This again keeps Husserl close to the structure of the Brentanian reistic phenomenon. Two levels of Heidegger’s intentionality involve first teleological intentionality which sees the basic involvement to be in the organism’s handling of its surrounding world. Putting the practical skill into a wider setting allows rationality to come through. This is followed by review about how the research in connectionism is inspired by Heidegger. The relation between being-in-the-world and artificial intelligence is a topic important for the artificial intelligence itself at the time the shortcomings of the traditional symbol crunching model of mind become evident. The need to include surroundings of an intelligent system into an appropriate account of cognition becomes obvious. Matjaz Potrc, born 1948 in Maribor, is full professor of analytic philosophy at University of Ljubljana, was elected as professor in Zagreb and was teaching in Zadar. Grant of french government in Paris with Julia Kristeva and Jacques Lacan, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung in Muenchen with Wolfgang Stegmueller, Fulbright grant in Memphis with Terry Horgan. Among several books: Austere Realism (with Terry Horgan, MIT Press), Practical Contexts (with Vojko Strahovnik, Ontos Verlag), Phenomenology and Cognitive Science (Roell Verlag). Origins, the Common Sources of the Analytic and Phenomenological Traditions (edited with Terry Horgan and John Tienson, Southern Journal of Philosophy), Challenging Moral Particularism (edited with Mark Lance and Vojko Strahovnik, Routledge). Hundreds of papers and book chapters. Works in metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language. Actively attended symposia in Pecs, IUC Dubrovnik, Rocky Mountain Ethics, Bonn, Second Renaissance Milano conferences. Established Bled international philosophy conferences, journal Acta Analytica (now Springer). Member of Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, alumni Wuerzburg University, former president of Association of philosophical societies of Yugoslavia.