Evan ThompsonWaking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy

Columbia University Press, 2014

by Carrie Figdor on February 15, 2015

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The quest for an explanation of consciousness is currently dominated by scientific efforts to find the neural correlates of conscious states, on the assumption that these states are dependent on the brain. A very different way of exploring consciousness is undertaken within various Indian religious traditions, in which subtle states of consciousness and transitions between such states can be revealed through meditation. In Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2014), Evan Thompson draws on neuroscience and these meditative traditions to illuminate consciousness and the nature of the self while avoiding both neuro-reductionist and spiritualist agendas. Thompson, who is a professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, develops a view of our sense of self as an emergent process of “I-making” that is constructed in relation to our environment and the body on which it depends.

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