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Why Experience Matters: Technology and the Constitution of Consciousness


The topic of the lecture is twofold. I will discuss a related set of ideas concerning the constitution of consciousness, the technological a priori and the neuroscientific approach. Both models are reductive in the sense that they grant underlying processes the ontological primacy over consciousness. The computational model of the brain in neuroscience considers the brain as an information-processing organ to which all conscious life can be reduced. The second topic is media philosophy, where consciousness is taken to be informed by technological processes inaccessible by experience. Both theories on the constitution of consciousness are related to technology and time (temporal and ontological primacy of non-conscious processes). Here I want to argue for the necessity to accommodate an account of experience within such frameworks. The reason to do so is our changing life-world. Technology becomes more and more integrated into everyday objects and is measuring an enormous amount of data generated by our usage of technological devices. On the one hand side, the ubiquity of technology is going to have an impact on how we interact with and are embedded in these smart environments. On the other hand side the data gathered via these devices is going to contribute to the analysis of human behavior and hence its evaluation. To deal with these developments we need to come to grips with the experiential aspects of what it means to live in smart environments. To do so I will argue for the integration of phenomenological accounts of embodied cognition within theoretical accounts of technological life-worlds.

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