This volume is product of the third online consciousness conference, held at http://consciousnessonline.com in February and March 2011. Chapters range over epistemological issues in the science and philosophy of perception, what neuroscience can do to help us solve philosophical issues in the philosophy of mind, what the true nature of black and white vision, pain, auditory, olfactory, or multi-modal experiences are, to higher-order theories of consciousness, synesthesia, among others. Each chapter includes a target article, commentaries, and in most cases, a final response from the author. Though wide-ranging all of the papers aim to understand consciousness both from the inside, as we experience it, and from the outside as we encounter it in our science. The Online Consciousness Conference, founded and organized by Richard Brown, is dedicated to the rigorous study of consciousness and mind. The goal is to bring philosophers, scientists, and interested lay persons together in an online venue to promote high-level discussion and exchanging of views, ideas and data related to the scientific and philosophical study of consciousness.
How is life related to the mind? This work draws upon sources as diverse as molecular biology, Continental Phenomenology, and analytic philosophy to argue that mind and life are more continuous than has previously been accepted, and that modern explanations do not adequately address the myriad facets of the biology and phenomenology of mind.
In this volume, cognitive scientists and philosophers examine two closely related aspects of mind and mental functioning: the relationships among the various senses and the links that connect different conscious experiences to form unified wholes. The contributors address a range of questions concerning how information from one sense influences the processing of information from the other senses and how unified states of consciousness emerge from the bonds that tie conscious experiences together. Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness is the first book to address both of these topics, integrating scientific and philosophical concerns.A flood of recent work in both philosophy and perception science has challenged traditional conceptions of the sensory systems as operating in isolation. Contributors to the volume consider the ways in which perceptual contact with the world is or may be "multisensory," discussing such subjects as the modeling of multisensory integration and philosophical aspects of sensory modalities. Recent years have seen a similar surge of interest in unity of consciousness. Contributors explore a range of questions on this topic, including the nature of that unity, the degree to which conscious experiences are unified, and the relationship between unified consciousness and the self. ContributorsTim Bayne, David J. Bennett, Berit Brogaard, Barry Dainton, Ophelia Deroy, Frederique de Vignemont, Marc Ernst, Richard Held, Christopher S. Hill, Geoffrey Lee, Kristan Marlow, Farid Masrour, Jennifer Matey, Casey O'Callaghan, Cesare V. Parise, Kevin Rice, Elizabeth Schechter, Pawan Sinha, Julia Trommershaeuser, Loes C. J. van Dam, Jonathan Vogel, James Van Cleve, Robert Van Gulick, Jonas Wulff
Despite recent strides in neuroscience and psychology that have deepened understanding of the brain, consciousness remains one of the greatest philosophical and scientific puzzles. The second edition of Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment provides a fresh and up-to-date introduction to a variety of approaches to consciousness, and contributes to the current lively debate about the nature of consciousness and whether a scientific understanding of it is possible. After an initial overview of the status and prospects of physicalism in the face of the problem of consciousness, William Seager explores key themes from Descartes - the founder of the modern problem of consciousness. He then turns to the most important theories of consciousness: identity theories and the generation problem higher-order thought theories of consciousness self-representational theories of consciousness Daniel Dennett’s theory of consciousness attention-based theories of consciousness representational theories of consciousness conscious intentionality panpsychism neutral monism. Thoroughly revised and expanded throughout, this second edition includes new chapters on animal consciousness, reflexive consciousness, combinatorial forms of panpsychism and neutral monism, as well as a significant new chapter on physicalism, emergence and consciousness. The book’s broad scope, depth of coverage and focus on key philosophical positions and arguments make it an indispensable text for those teaching or studying philosophy of mind and psychology. It is also an excellent resource for those working in related fields such as cognitive science and the neuroscience of consciousness.
Synaesthesia is a condition in which a stimulus elicits an additional subjective experience. For example, the letter E printed in black (the inducer) may trigger an additional colour experience as a concurrent (e.g., blue). Synaesthesia tends to run in families and thus, a genetic component is likely. However, given that the stimuli that typically induce synaesthesia are cultural artefacts, a learning component must also be involved. Moreover, there is evidence that synaesthetic experiences not only activate brain areas typically involved in processing sensory input of the concurrent modality; synaesthesia seems to cause a structural reorganisation of the brain. Attempts to train non-synaesthetes with synaesthetic associations have been successful in mimicking certain behavioural aspects and posthypnotic induction of synaesthetic experiences in non-synaesthetes has even led to the according phenomenological reports. These latter findings suggest that structural brain reorganization may not be a critical precondition, but rather a consequence of the sustained coupling of inducers and concurrents. Interestingly, synaesthetes seem to be able to easily transfer synaesthetic experiences to novel stimuli. Beyond this, certain drugs (e.g., LSD) can lead to synaesthesia-like experiences and may provide additional insights into the neurobiological basis of the condition. Furthermore, brain damage can both lead to a sudden presence of synaesthetic experiences in previously non-synaesthetic individuals and a sudden absence of synaesthesia in previously synaesthetic individuals. Moreover, enduring sensory substitution has been effective in inducing a kind of acquired synaesthesia. Besides informing us about the cognitive mechanisms of synaesthesia, synaesthesia research is relevant for more general questions, for example about consciousness such as the binding problem, about crossmodal correspondences and about how individual differences in perceiving and experiencing the world develop. Hence the aim of the current Research Topic is to provide novel insights into the development of synaesthesia both in its genuine and acquired form. We welcome novel experimental work and theoretical contributions (e.g., review and opinion articles) focussing on factors such as brain maturation, learning, training, hypnosis, drugs, sensory substitution and brain damage and their relation to the development of any form of synaesthesia.
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.
Psychology by Harald Walach,Stefan Schmidt,Wayne B. Jonas
Author: Harald Walach,Stefan Schmidt,Wayne B. Jonas
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality presents a variety of perspectives by leading thinkers on contemporary research into the brain, the mind and the spirit. This volumes aims at combining knowledge from neuroscience with approaches from the experiential perspective of the first person singular in order to arrive at an integrated understanding of consciousness. Individual chapters discuss new areas of research, such as near death studies and neuroscience research into spiritual experiences, and report on significant new theoretical advances. From Harald Walach’s introductory essay, “Neuroscience, Consciousness, Spirituality – Questions, Problems and Potential Solutions,” to the concluding chapter by Robert K. C. Foreman entitled “An Emerging New Model for Consciousness: The Consciousness Field Model,” this book represents a milestone in the progress towards an integrated understanding of spirituality, neuroscience and consciousness. It is the first in a series of books that are dedicated to this topic.
Richard Swinburne presents a powerful new case for substance dualism and for libertarian free will. He argues that pure mental events (including conscious events) are distinct from physical events and interact with them, and claims that no result from neuroscience or any other science could show that interaction does not take place. Swinburne goes on to argue for agent causation, and claims that it is we, and not our intentions, that cause our brain events. It ismetaphysically possible that each of us could acquire a new brain or continue to exist without a brain; and so we are essentially souls. Brain events and conscious events are so different from each other that it would not be possible to establish a scientific theory which would predict what each ofus would do in situations of moral conflict. Hence, we should believe that things are as they seem to be: that we make choices independently of the causes which influence us. It follows that we are morally responsible for our actions.
Technical advances in the life and medical sciences have revolutionised our understanding of the brain, while the emerging disciplines of social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience continue to reveal the connections of the higher cognitive functions and emotional states associated with religious experience to underlying brain states. At the same time, a host of developing theories in psychology and anthropology posit evolutionary explanations for the ubiquity and persistence of religious beliefs and the reports of religious experiences across human cultures, while gesturing toward physical bases for these behaviours. What is missing from this literature is a strong voice speaking to these behavioural and social scientists - as well as to the intellectually curious in the religious studies community - from the perspective of a brain scientist.
A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing
Author: Michael Winkelman
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
This book examines shamanism from evolutionary and biological perspectives to identify the origins of shamanic healing in rituals that enhance individual and group function. * Written by an internationally recognized scholar on shamanism * Illustrates evidence of ancient shamanic practices * A bibliography provides current and historical sources on shamanism
The study of consciousness is recognized as one of the biggest remaining challenges to the scientific community. This book provides a fascinating introduction to the new science that promises to illuminate our understanding of the subject. Consciousness covers all the main approaches to the modern scientific study of consciousness, and also gives the necessary historical, philosophical and conceptual background to the field. Current scientific evidence and theory from the fields of neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, brain imaging and the study of altered states of consciousness such as dreaming, hypnosis, meditation and out-of-body experiences is presented. Revonsuo provides an integrative review of the major existing philosophical and empirical theories of consciousness and identifies the most promising areas for future developments in the field. This textbook offers a readable and timely introduction to the science of consciousness for anyone interested in this compelling area, especially undergraduates studying psychology, philosophy, cognition, neuroscience and related fields.
The project of naturalizing human consciousness/experience has made great technical strides (e.g., in mapping areas of brain activity), but has been hampered in many cases by its uncritical reliance on a dualistic “Cartesian” paradigm (though as some of the authors in the collection point out, assumptions drawn from Plato and from Kant also play a role). The present volume proposes a version of naturalism in aesthetics drawn from American pragmatism (above all from Dewey, but also from James and Peirce)—one primed from the start to see human beings not only as embodied, but as inseparable from the environment they interact with—and provides a forum for authors from diverse disciplines to address specific scientific and philosophical issues within the anti-dualistic framework considering aesthetic experience as a process of embodied meaning-making. Cross-disciplinary contributions come from leading researchers including Mark Johnson, Jim Garrison, Daniel D. Hutto, John T. Haworth, Luca F. Ticini, Beatriz Calvo-Merino. The volume covers pragmatist aesthetics, neuroaesthetics, enactive cognitive science, literary studies, psychology of aesthetics, art and design, sociology.
Synthesizing decades of research, this book advances a theory of the psychological and neurophysiological correlates of conscious experience. Prinz argues that consciousness always arises at a particular stage of perceptual processing, the intermediate level, and that consciousness depends on attention.
'It is some years now since I realized how many false opinions I had accepted as true from childhood onwards...I saw that at some stage in my life the whole structure would have to be utterly demolished' In Descartes's Meditations, one of the key texts of Western philosophy, the thinker rejects all his former beliefs in the quest for new certainties. Discovering his own existence as a thinking entity in the very exercise of doubt, he goes on to prove the existence of God, who guarantees his clear and distinct ideas as a means of access to the truth. He develops new conceptions of body and mind, capable of serving as foundations for the new science of nature. Subsequent philosophy has grappled with Descartes's legacy, questioning many of its conclusions and even his basic approach, but his arguments set the agenda for many of the greatest philosophical thinkers, and their fascination endures. This new translation includes the Third and Fourth Objections and Replies in full, and a selection from the rest of these exchanges with Descartes's contemporaries that helped to expound his philosophy. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
In books like Embyogenesis and Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings, author Richard Grossinger brought together the subjects of biological embryology and the esoteric process of human consciousness becoming embodied ("The embryo is the universe writing itself on its own body"). In Dark Pool of Light, his latest creation, Grossinger weaves neuroscience-based behaviorism and the phenomenology of "being" and reality together with psychological and psychospiritual views of "that single thing which is most difficult to understand or vindicate: our own existence." In 2008 Grossinger began studying with noted psychic teacher John Friedlander, who helped him refine his vision of cerebral and somatic awareness to still subtler levels. "Dark Pool of Light began unnamed in the journals of my psychic work with John Friedlander," says Grossinger, "not so much a record of actual practices as insights from them and extensions out of them." An expansive inquiry into the nature of consciousness, the series examines the tension between the scientific and philosophical, and psychic views of the same phenomena, and includes "field notes" and experiential exercises that invite the reader to make their own explorations. Dark Pool of Light is divided into three volumes: in Volume 1, Grossinger begins with the scientific and philosophical, analytical views of reality, exploring the science, parascience, philosophy, and psychology of consciousness. Covering topics as diverse as current discoveries in neuroscience and the philosophy of the ancient Greeks, the book gives a broad overview of the bodies of knowledge concerning the nature of reality and consciousness. Volume Two discusses the similarities and differences between European esoteric traditions and Buddhism in their approaches to the subjects, and gives a detailed description of the psychic training Grossinger undertook that informs much of his worldview. This expansive inquiry into the nature of consciousness ends with this third volume in the series, The Crisis and Future of Consciousness. Grossinger addresses the perennial question of evil and shares the author's hopes and fears for the future of humanity. While wisdom gleaned from such seemingly disparate sources as science, philosophy, religion, and spirituality might appear "very, very different things," Grossinger nevertheless finds their meeting place in subjective, lived experience.