The importance of debating the mind-body-problem becomes clear when considering what Schwartz and Wiggins write about the phenomenon of "life" in their article. When trying to grasp "life", we find ourselves faced with the problem of "natural vs. reflective" experience. Schwartz and Wiggins  observe: "we can claim privileged access: since we are living beings ourselves, we know what it means to be alive from our own first-hand experience." In our opinion this privileged access does not change or solve the problem, but is the essential basis for having the problem.
After all, Schwartz and Wiggins' statement: "Every moment of our waking lives we directly experience life, life in ourselves and in others" is a truism. On the other hand, it is a claim about our pre-reflective experience that cannot be verified reflectively. To say that we "directly" experience our own living from moment to moment suggests that some kind of sentience of life must accompany each of our cognitions, a statement that requires verification. In his "Material Phenomenology," the French theist philosopher, Michel Henry  proposes that "[l]ife is a how, both a mode of revelation and revelation itself" (p. 119). Yet, we must be very careful here to guard against Henry's metaphysical conclusion (not based on the phenomenological method): that since we are alive we have immediate access to our own "how" as transcendental condition for this living. In his writings, Henry repeatedly makes the methodic mistake of confusing phenomenologic method for results. Henry  claims this presupposed immediate access to the "how" of our naïve pre-reflective experience as passive auto-affection. However, this "how" is only made available as a verbal-abstraction subsequent to phenomenological reduction and therefore heavily laden with reflection's own armour. Henry's position apparently requires that the reflective and the pre-reflective quality of experiences would be the same as if the reflecting subject could fold back on itself and somehow be the same in both the pre-reflective and reflective perspectives, despite the "delay" that the reflection itself requires.
As already stated, we are clearly alive, and in the instance of bringing this fact into our focus, we are retrospectively referring to our own experience. In doing so we are unable to bring the act of the hyperbolic-reflecting itself (being itself the focusing) into focus. Of course, this argument seems to be in danger of "infinite regress" and to call for fundamental scepticism. However, we do not agree with this point for the following reason. Having privileged access, we are inevitably alive in the fullest sense while experiencing this privileged access. But even though being alive in the fullest sense, we are unable to obtain a "full picture" of this living itself, i.e., having "immediate" access to this life as a totality without some sort of cognitive, affective or interoceptive mediation. After all, any reflective access to our own living as a totality must be a retrospective pars pro toto relation to this totality. Something is always left out within this act of reflection namely the antecedent, pre-reflective basis of conscious experience which is not available to this reflecting except as a "decaying" retention sinking into the, what Husserl calls, the "night of the unconscious" [28, 11]. Even if I claim that I am always interoceptively aware of my own body in its inner milieu as the presupposed "background" of each conscious now, it is still pars pro toto. To put it simply: though the "natural experience" is given fully to the subjective perspective engrossed in this experience, it cannot be taken fully into account. Because our positionality is ultimately ec-centric (Plessner, see below), even with respect to our own embodied living, we may not so easily dismiss, or presume to solve the mind-body-problem [see also [29, 30]]. It continues to be the "hard problem". The German philosophical anthropologist, Helmuth Plessner distinguished being a body as subject (Leib-sein) from having one's body as object (Körper-haben). Human subjectivity is Leib im Körper, that is, the body as subject (Leib) is lodged in but not coincident with our awareness of the "same" body as object (Körper): "The person is always subjectively lived body (Leib) (with head, trunk, appendages and all that such experiencing includes) - even if this same individual is convinced that his own immortal 'soul' is also present inside his Leib - and, at the same time, he has this body as corporeal object (Körper)." [, p. 43 our translation]. "My embodied being-in-the-world as self-transcendent is ec-static, prospectively open and vulnerable to the not-yet-known in a way that extends beyond my experience of having a 'self-enclosed body image'." [, p. 621]. The fundamentally human relationship to body is ambiguous in that we are able to shift frame of reference with regard to the "same body": we are able to take on both an internal-vital (i.e., proprioceptiveinteroceptive) and external (exteroceptive, social-objectifying) relationship to our own bodies. The latter is experienced as a self-enclosed entity in that I take an external or exteroceptive relationship to my own body as "object," anticipating its totality as others might experience/see it. Although the term "body ownership" has become quite fashionable in recent phenomenologic and neuroscientific writings, this is not quite correct. It is not merely that I "have" (or "own") this body or my body image (which is exteroceptively given to me, but also imagined as object). It is not just "mine" (exclusively my province, accessible only to me as my own interoceptive experiences are) but is also how I imagine others to experience me. As Plessner writes: "The visual presenting of my body to myself, always an external relationship, obtains a main role in conveying a total-impression to myself, but mainly of the frontal part of the body, and with the important exception of the head, and the region decisive for social contact [and reciprocity of perspectives], the face...With this visual incompleteness..., especially the invisibility of one's own face, we come to...the image of our own bodies (Leibimago)" [, vol. 8, pp. 292-3 (cited and trans by Mishara )].
It is possible that those who argue that the naively or naturally experiencing pre-reflective subject has direct sentience of its own living from moment to moment may want to base their argument on claiming that this persistent life-sentience is given in the background as a kind of interoception in each conscious experience. The latter would indicate that these experiences are infused with a sense of "mineness" as a kind of tacit "ownership" of the experiences in interoceptive pre-reflective self-affection. This point of view was recently proposed by E. Thompson . There are three problems with this view: 1) how could we know in the sense of an explicit knowledge this without first reflecting on it and thus thematically produce the very interoceptive experience we claim to be there in the background before the reflecting? Such putative requisite prereflective life-sentience is not available to the reflective-phenomenological method of "reduction"; 2) Since the subject is already experiencing these experiences, why is there the additional requirement that these experiences be "tagged" as "mine," the so-called experience of "ownership," in what is an unnecessary, nonparsimonious redundacy? Such tagging would be relevant rather to an episodic memory system after the fact which implicates a remembered, embodied and situated self apart from current experiencing, e.g., Tulving's "time travel" , see below. This relevance can be especially seen when functions of the episodic memory are impaired, e.g. in frontotemporal lobar degeneration, were people do not realize the changes of their abilities due to impaired functions of "context-recall" and "reexperiencing" ; 3) The current evidence in neuroscience does not support the redundant view: so-called "inner" or interoceptive awareness of being alive is subserved by an interoceptive reward-emotional pathway (e.g., in the inner feeling of vitality), e.g., . However, neuroimaging, single electrode and related studies reveal that the brain pathways subserving interoception are not tonically active in the background from moment to moment , and therefore, in their very intermittency, not a sine qua non (contra Thompson) for conscious experience. Moreover, such putative tonic activity as an ongoing tagging would not be parsimonious from the point of view of brain evolution which conserves its limited resources (i.e., excitosis and reuptake or recycling of vital but finitely available neurotransmitters, such as dopamine) to signal precisely those events which hold some significance for the organism or the organism's survival. That is, the interoceptive signalling (e.g., Damasio's so-called somatic markers) so far as it indicates important moments of "salience" (presumably relevant to the organism's survival or biologically meaningful in some other way) and thus, to be noticed and learned by the subject, is activated phasically (i.e., involving a "prediction error" between expected events and outcomes which are better or worse than expected which then activates dopaminergic and other signalling) .
There is the additional problem, which we call here, a "soft" problem (to distinguish it from the "hard problem", or mind-body-duality, and the related "explanatory gap" between phenomenal-mental experience (qualia) and neural process we have been discussing up till now): even if we perform "reduction" in a Husserlian sense, we are never totally free in our reflection from historical consciousness, and from language which makes such methodic reflective "reduction possible." H.-G. Gadamer  called this inevitable historical consciousness the pre-reflective precondition of understanding (präreflexive Vorstruktur des Verstehens). Moreover, we are not able (contra Schwartz & Wiggins) to "start from both sides - from the side of what empirical science can tell us about inorganic and organic reality and from the side of our own direct experience of life in ourselves and in others" . These perspectives are not only not the same, they methodically exclude one another in what Viktor von Weizsäcker  calls a Gestalt-circle (Gestaltkreis). Their difference depends on the respective way, or applied method which brings "things" into focus. With respect to the phenomenon of "life", it is not at all clear whether these different, mutually exclusive approaches focus on the same phenomenon. Obviously there is a difference between observing living cells through a microscope and understanding Homer's concept of life. At any rate, we acknowledge that certain characteristics may be "physiognomically" given when experiencing something which is alive, or saying something about the structure of our experience as a living being. Viktor von Weizsäcker, who, as we already noted, is regarded as the "founder" of psychosomatic medicine in Germany, had argued that we must introduce the concept of subjectivity into the study of life or biology. However, as reflecting subjectivity, we do not have access to the "hidden unity" between mind and body in what von Weizsäcker calls the fundamental relationship (Grundverhältnis) to our own being. Mind and body are, as can be said with reference to Aristotle, rather experienced as "two sides of the same coin" [40, 41]). That is, mind and body are in "hidden" unity or Gestaltkreis, which is not given directly to consciousness whether in pre-reflective naïve experiencing, or the reflection on this experiencing. In our view, it is only through acknowledging this human finitude (rather than claiming that "mind-body dualism" has been overcome) that a psychosomatic medicine or a philosophically informed psychiatry can be properly practiced.