Dr. Fergus Anderson

The title of my recently completed dissertation is Researching the Experience of Conscious, Occurrent Thinking: A First-Person Approach. In the PhD, I use first-person research methods to explore the nature of the thinking experience as a basis for making some theoretical contributions to the current literature in philosophy of mind. Behind this rather specific interest is a much broader interest in the nature of consciousness and the human being. As technology increasingly reproduces and duplicates the cognitive functions that are at the heart of what makes us human, the question of what human cognition really is becomes ever more critical. My main research interests lie in understanding human cognitive processes from the ‘inside’ – i.e., in the first-person sense, using contemplative, introspective and phenomenological methods. I am also particularly interested in the philosophical work and research of Rudolf Steiner, and my Master’s thesis dealt with Steiner’s theory of ‘imaginative’ cognition. Other areas of interest include phenomenology as a research method and philosophical stance, cognitive phenomenology (and related fields) in philosophy of mind, and German Idealism.

I am also currently working as a programme lead and lecturer at Crossfields Institute in Stroud, UK.

Current research activities and projects

  1. Paper in progress. Draft title: What can the meditative practice of long-term meditators say about the nature of mental imaging? This paper is for a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies due for publication in early 2019.
  2. Research project. Confabulation and microphenomenology. I am part of a small team researching the possibility that micro phenomenology as a research method can contribute to the philosophical understanding of confabulation. We are planning to submit our findings to a special issue of the journal Topoi. 
  3. Research project. Title: The red circle green circle project. This is an ingoing research project in collaboration with Marijn Fagard on the experience of working intensively with one of Rudolf Steiner’s meditative exercises – the red circle green circle exercises. Participants work with the exercise for an hour per day an record their findings.
  4. Research project. Title: Second-person perspectives on the dynamic phenomenology of thought. This project is a continuation of my PhD research. The aim of the research is to use microphenomenology to further deepen and explore the nature of the experience of occurrent conscious thought as presented in my PhD research. In particular I would like to critically evaluate the four-fold structure of occurrent thought (the DPT thesis) using second-person methods rather than the primarily first-person methods used in my PhD.
  5. Other relevant activities.
    1. I will be presenting a paper at the Forschunsgstage in Sheffield (UK) on the 29, 29 Sept, 2018.
    2. I will be doing a keynote on the dynamic phenomenology of thinking at the First Person Science of Consciousness conference at Witten Herdecke University (Germany) on the 23rd – 25th May, 2019
    3. For the last four years I have attended various trainings and masterclasses with Claire Petitmengin on microphenomenology as a research method. I have also assisted her on a training and I am now a recognised microphenomenology practitioner. I will be attending a further masterclass in October 2018. I am also part of a UK group of researchers working in various fields with this method.

For publications and other info see my Research Gate page

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