Waking Dreaming Being

Author: Evan Thompson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231137096
Release Date: 2014-11-11
Genre: Religion

A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of the mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the ÒIÓ as dreamer. Finally, as we meditateÑeither in the waking state or in a lucid dreamÑwe can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as Òme.Ó We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness the dissolution of the self with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to lifeÕs profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.

Waking Dreaming Being

Author: Evan Thompson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231538312
Release Date: 2014-11-18
Genre: Religion

A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate—either in the waking state or in a lucid dream—we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.

Waking Dreaming Being Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience Meditation and Philosophy

Author: Evan Thompson
Publisher:
ISBN: 0231136951
Release Date: 2017-07-25
Genre:

A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate—either in the waking state or in a lucid dream—we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.

Mind in Life

Author: Evan Thompson
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674736887
Release Date: 2010-09-30
Genre: Philosophy

How is life related to the mind? Thompson explores this so-called explanatory gap between biological life and consciousness, drawing on sources as diverse as molecular biology, evolutionary theory, artificial life, complex systems theory, neuroscience, psychology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy. Ultimately he shows that mind and life are more continuous than previously accepted, and that current explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind.

Dying What Happens When We Die

Author: Evan Thompson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231538954
Release Date: 2014-09-02
Genre: Religion

In the ancient Indian epic, Mahabharata, the Lord of Death asks, "What is the most wondrous thing in the world?", and his son answers, "It is that all around us people can be dying and we don't believe it can happen to us." This refusal to face the inevitability of death is especially prevalent in modern Western societies. We look to science to tell us how things are but biomedicine and neuroscience divest death of any personal significance by presenting it as just the breakdown of the body and the cessation of consciousness. The Tibetan Buddhist perspective stands in sharp contrast to this modern scientific notion of death. This tradition conceives dying not as the mere termination of living processes within the body, but as a rite of passage and transformation of consciousness. Physical death, in this tradition, initiates a transition from one of the six bardos ("in-between states") of consciousness to an opportunity for total enlightenment. In Dying: What Happens When We Die?, Evan Thompson establishes a middle ground between the depersonalized, scientific account of death and the highly ritualized notion of death found in Tibetan Buddhism. Thompson's depiction of death and dying offers an insightful neurobiological analysis while also delving into the phenomenology of death, examining the psychological and spiritual effects of dying on human consciousness. In a trenchant critique of the near-death experience literature, he shows that these experiences do not provide evidence for the continuation of consciousness after death, but also that they must be understood phenomenologically and not in purely neuroscience terms. We must learn to tolerate the "ultimate ungraspability of death" by bearing witness to dying and death instead of turning away from them. We can learn to face the experience of dying through meditative practice, and to view the final moments of life not as a frightening inevitability to be shunned or ignored, but as a deeply personal experience to be accepted and even embraced.

Self No Self

Author: Mark Siderits
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191668302
Release Date: 2013-01-31
Genre: Philosophy

The nature and reality of self is a subject of increasing prominence among Western philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists. It has also been central to Indian and Tibetan philosophical traditions for over two thousand years. It is time to bring the rich resources of these traditions into the contemporary debate about the nature of self. This volume is the first of its kind. Leading philosophical scholars of the Indian and Tibetan traditions join with leading Western philosophers of mind and phenomenologists to explore issues about consciousness and selfhood from these multiple perspectives. Self, No Self? is not a collection of historical or comparative essays. It takes problem-solving and conceptual and phenomenological analysis as central to philosophy. The essays mobilize the argumentative resources of diverse philosophical traditions to address issues about the self in the context of contemporary philosophy and cognitive science. Self, No Self? will be essential reading for philosophers and cognitive scientists interested in the nature of the self and consciousness, and will offer a valuable way into the subject for students.

The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Author: Shaun Gallagher
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199548019
Release Date: 2011-02-10
Genre: Medical

The Oxford Handbook of the Self explores a fascinating diversity of questions about our understanding of self from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, ethics, psychology, neuroscience, psychopathology, narrative, and postmodern theories.

Zen and the Brain

Author: James H. Austin
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262260352
Release Date: 1999-06-04
Genre: Medical

A neuroscientist and Zen practitioner interweaves the latest research on the brain with his personal narrative of Zen. Aldous Huxley called humankind's basic trend toward spiritual growth the "perennial philosophy." In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a "perennial psychophysiology"—because awakening, or enlightenment, occurs only when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain presents the latest evidence. In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment.

Being No One

Author: Thomas Metzinger
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262263807
Release Date: 2004-08-20
Genre: Medical

According to Thomas Metzinger, no such things as selves exist in the world: nobody ever had or was a self. All that exists are phenomenal selves, as they appear in conscious experience. The phenomenal self, however, is not a thing but an ongoing process; it is the content of a "transparent self-model." In Being No One, Metzinger, a German philosopher, draws strongly on neuroscientific research to present a representationalist and functional analysis of what a consciously experienced first-person perspective actually is. Building a bridge between the humanities and the empirical sciences of the mind, he develops new conceptual toolkits and metaphors; uses case studies of unusual states of mind such as agnosia, neglect, blindsight, and hallucinations; and offers new sets of multilevel constraints for the concept of consciousness. Metzinger's central question is: How exactly does strong, consciously experienced subjectivity emerge out of objective events in the natural world? His epistemic goal is to determine whether conscious experience, in particular the experience of being someone that results from the emergence of a phenomenal self, can be analyzed on subpersonal levels of description. He also asks if and how our Cartesian intuitions that subjective experiences as such can never be reductively explained are themselves ultimately rooted in the deeper representational structure of our conscious minds.

The Embodied Mind

Author: Francisco J. Varela
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262529365
Release Date: 2017-01-13
Genre: Philosophy

A new edition of a classic work that originated the "embodied cognition" movement and was one of the first to link science and Buddhist practices.

Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research

Author: Analayo
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781614294627
Release Date: 2018-04-23
Genre: Religion

Join a rigorous scholar and Buddhist monk on a brisk tour of rebirth from ancient doctrine to contemporary debates. German Buddhist monk and university professor Bhikkhu Analayo had not given much attention to the topic of rebirth before some friends asked him to explore the treatment of the issue in early Buddhist texts. This succinct volume presents his findings, approaching the topic from four directions. The first chapter examines the doctrine of rebirth as it is presented in the earliest Buddhist sources and the way it relates to core doctrinal principles. The second chapter reviews debates about rebirth throughout Buddhist history and up to modern times, noting the role of confirmation bias in evaluation of evidence. Chapter 3 reviews the merits of current research on rebirth, including near-death experience, past-life regression, and children who recall previous lives. The chapter concludes with an examination of xenoglossy, the ability to speak languages one has not learned previously, and chapter 4 examines the particular case of Dhammaruwan, a Sri Lankan boy who chants Pali texts that he does not appear to have learned in his present life. Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research brings together the many strands of the debate on rebirth in one place, making it both comprehensive and compact. It is not a polemic but an interrogation of the evidence, and it leaves readers to come to their own conclusions.

Conscious Mind Sleeping Brain

Author: J. Gackenbach
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781475704235
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Psychology

A conscious mind in a sleeping brain: the title of this book provides a vivid image of the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, in which dreamers are consciously aware that they are dreaming while they seem to be soundly asleep. Lucid dreamers could be said to be awake to their inner worlds while they are asleep to the external world. Of the many questions that this singular phenomenon may raise, two are foremost: What is consciousness? And what is sleep? Although we cannot pro vide complete answers to either question here, we can at least explain the sense in which we are using the two terms. We say lucid dreamers are conscious because their subjective reports and behavior indicate that they are explicitly aware of the fact that they are asleep and dreaming; in other words, they are reflectively conscious of themselves. We say lucid dreamers are asleep primarily because they are not in sensory contact with the external world, and also because research shows physiological signs of what is conventionally considered REM sleep. The evidence presented in this book-preliminary as it is-still ought to make it clear that lucid dreaming is an experiential and physiological reality. Whether we should consider it a paradoxical form of sleep or a paradoxical form of waking or something else entirely, it seems too early to tell.

The Bodhisattva s Brain

Author: Owen Flanagan
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262297233
Release Date: 2011-08-12
Genre: Philosophy

If we are material beings living in a material world -- and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are -- then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual (but not religious) inclinations are attracted to Buddhism -- almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene. But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. In The Bodhisattva's Brain, Flanagan argues that it is possible to discover in Buddhism a rich, empirically responsible philosophy that could point us to one path of human flourishing. Some claim that neuroscience is in the process of validating Buddhism empirically, but Flanagan's naturalized Buddhism does not reduce itself to a brain scan showing happiness patterns. "Buddhism naturalized," as Flanagan constructs it, offers instead a fully naturalistic and comprehensive philosophy, compatible with the rest of knowledge -- a way of conceiving of the human predicament, of thinking about meaning for finite material beings living in a material world.

Pathways in Theodicy

Author: Mark S. M. Scott
Publisher: Fortress Press
ISBN: 9781451469806
Release Date: 2015-05-01
Genre: Religion

Why does God permit evil and suffering? This question, known as the problem of evil in theological and philosophical circles, has perennially vexed Christian theology. Academic studies on the problem of evil, however, have failed to move the conversation forward in recent years. In this volume, designed for students and scholars alike, Mark S. M. Scott traces the major models and motifs in Christian explanations for evil (called theodicies) and argues for a thorough rethinking of the problem of evil and theodicy based on distinctly Christian theological criteria and resources.