The Matter of Experience, or, Reminding Consciousness of Its Necessary Modesty
This chapter begins with theoretically contested notions of the neurological nonconscious that have produced two differently oriented strands in the posthumanities: a remodeled cognitive theoretical framework and a new materialist rendering of affect theory. The chapter probes these two strands and then sketches out a Whiteheadian nonconscious. The first observation notes the differing ways in which the neuroscientific nonconscious has stirred up debate. The aim is to place a small range of varied new materialist work alongside Katherine Hayles's recent concept of the cognitive nonconscious. More specifically, the second observation asks if new materialism, as Hayles claims, conspicuously ignores conscious cognition. The third observation outlines a Whiteheadian nonconscious, intended to upset the anthropocentricism that arguably persists in theories of embodiment. The discussion concludes by examining how a theory of the nonconscious can avoid the neurocentric and phenomenological trap of the subject-predicate-object by mapping out a nonbifurcated experience.