Ontology of Consciousness: Percipient Action

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Overview

The "hard problem" of today's consciousness studies is subjective experience:
understanding why some brain processing is accompanied by an experienced inner life. Recent scientific advances offer insights for understanding the physiological and chemical phenomenology of consciousness. But by leaving aside the internal experiential nature of consciousness in favor of mapping neural activity, such science leaves many questions unanswered. In Ontology of
Consciousness
, scholars from a range of disciplines -- from neurophysiology to parapsychology, from mathematics to anthropology and indigenous non-Western modes of thought -- go beyond these limits of current neuroscience research to explore insights offered by other intellectual approaches to consciousness. These scholars focus their attention on such philosophical approaches to consciousness as Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, North American Indian insights,
pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilization, and the Byzantine Empire. Some draw on artifacts and ethnographic data to make their point. Others translate cultural concepts of consciousness into modern scientific language using models and mathematical mappings. Many consider individual experiences of sentience and existence, as seen in African communalism, Hindi psychology, Zen
Buddhism, Indian vibhuti phenomena, existentialism, philosophical realism, and modern psychiatry.
Some reveal current views and conundrums in neurobiology to comprehend sentient intellection.

Contributors: Karim Akerma, Matthijs Cornelissen, Antoine Courban,
Mario Crocco, Christian de Quincey, Thomas B. Fowler, Erlendur Haraldsson, David. J. Hufford, Pavel
B. Ivanov, Heinz Kimmerle, Stanley Krippner, Armand J. Labbé, James Maffie, Hubert Markl, Graham
Parkes, Michael Polemis, E Richard Sorenson, Mircea Steriade, Thomas Szasz, Mariela Szirko, Robert
A.F. Thurman, Edith L.B. Turner, Julia Watkin, Helmut Wautischer

The MIT Press

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What People Are Saying

Alan M. Olson

"This collection provides a rich tableau of research on the nature ofconsciousness by twenty internationally recognized scholars and researcherswho draw on perspectives from archaic traditions in religion and culture tocontemporary neuroscience to the testimony of personal experience.Masterfully edited by Helmut Wautischer, Ontology of Consciousness answersquestions such as: what kind of being is the being to which we refer asconsciousness? How long have humans been perplexed by the awareness ofbeing? Are the questions of being and consciousness one and the same?" --Alan M. Olson, Professor, Philosophy of Religion, Boston University

Alan M. Olson, Boston University

Wilton Dillon

"These percipient 20 essays are like detonating explosives, profoundly disturbing to various intellectual universes, and highly appropriate to be published by an institution famed for pushing frontiers in science and technology. They connect the dots between the seen and unseen worlds. They require Kierkegaardian leaps of faith. They stretch referential meaningin order to understand human powers of wordless communication that we share with other animals. The essayists have playfully created a new Metaphysical Club open to all with courage to explore."
--Wilton S. Dillon, Senior Scholar Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

Wilton Dillon, Smithsonian Institute

Phillip Clayton

"One does not realize how painfully narrow is our dataset concerning
'conscious phenomena' until one works one's way through this book. The astounding spectrum of human beliefs about and experiences of consciousness is here carefully organized, analyzed, and categorized. Many chapters, even as they evoke skepticism,
make for spellbinding reading. Ambitiously interdisciplinary, this text will be superb for classroom use and could significantly influence the philosophy of mind --
if this field is willing to expand the range of its data in the ways here suggested."--Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology, and Author of Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness

Phillip Clayton, Claremont School of Theology

Douglass Price-Williams

"An essential source book for the study of consciousness and foundations of experience. This book provides comprehensive analyses of diverse philosophical,
religious, anthropological, and scientific approaches to human experience. Scholars who study consciousness, whether they be behavioral, social or biological scientists, or just educated readers, will find in this volume a store of data necessary for the pursuit of this subject."--Douglass Price-Williams. Professor Emeritus, Departments of Psychiatry and Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles.

From the Publisher
"An essential source book for the study of consciousness and foundations of experience. This book provides comprehensive analyses of diverse philosophical, religious,anthropological, and scientific approaches to human experience. Scholars who study consciousness,whether they be behavioral, social or biological scientists, or just educated readers, will find in this volume a store of data necessary for the pursuit of this subject."DouglassPrice-Williams , Professor Emeritus, Departments of Psychiatry and Anthropology,University of California, Los Angeles

"One does not realize how painfully narrow is our dataset concerning "conscious phenomena" until one works one"s way through this book. The astounding spectrum of human beliefs about and experiences of consciousness is here carefully organized, analyzed, and categorized. Many chapters, even as they evoke skepticism, make for spellbinding reading. Ambitiously interdisciplinary, this text will be superb for classroom use and could significantly influence the philosophy of mindif this field is willing to expand the range of its data in the ways here suggested."Philip Clayton , Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology, and author of Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness

"These percipient twenty essays are like detonating explosives, profoundly disturbing to various intellectual universes, and highly appropriate to be published by an institution famed for pushing frontiers in science and technology. They connect the dots between the seen and unseen worlds. They require Kierkegaardian leaps of faith. They stretch referential meaning in order to understand human powers of wordless communication that we share with other animals. The essayists have playfully created a new Metaphysical Club open to all with courage to explore." WiltonS. Dillon , Senior Scholar Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

"This collection provides a rich tableau of research on the nature of consciousness by twenty internationally recognized scholars and researchers who draw on perspectives from archaic traditions in religion and culture to contemporary neuroscience to the testimony of personal experience. Masterfully edited by Helmut Wautischer, Ontology of Consciousnessanswers questions such as: what kind of being is the being to which we refer as consciousness? How long have humans been perplexed by the awareness of being? Are the questions of being and consciousness one and the same?"Alan M. Olson , Professor, Philosophy ofReligion, Boston University

Alan M. Olson

This collection provides a rich tableau of research on the nature of consciousness by twenty internationally recognized scholars and researchers who draw on perspectives from archaic traditions in religion and culture tocontemporary neuroscience to the testimony of personal experience. Masterfully edited by Helmut Wautischer, Ontology of Consciousness
answersquestions such as: what kind of being is the being to which we refer as consciousness? How long have humans been perplexed by the awareness of being? Are the questions of being and consciousness one and the same?

Douglass Price-Williams

An essential source book for the study of consciousness and foundations of experience. This book provides comprehensive analyses of diverse philosophical, religious,
anthropological, and scientific approaches to human experience. Scholars who study consciousness,
whether they be behavioral, social or biological scientists, or just educated readers, will find in this volume a store of data necessary for the pursuit of this subject.

Phillip Clayton

One does not realize how painfully narrow is our dataset concerning 'conscious phenomena' until one works one's way through this book. The astounding spectrum of human beliefs about and experiences of consciousness is here carefully organized, analyzed, and categorized. Many chapters, even as they evoke skepticism, make for spellbinding reading. Ambitiously interdisciplinary, this text will be superb for classroom use and could significantly influence the philosophy of mind -- if this field is willing to expand the range of its data in the ways here suggested.

Wilton Dillon
"These percipient 20 essays are like detonating explosives, profoundly disturbing to various intellectual universes, and highly appropriate to be published by an institution famed for pushing frontiers in science and technology. They connect the dots between the seen and unseen worlds. They require Kierkegaardian leaps of faith. They stretch referential meaningin order to understand human powers of wordless communication that we share with other animals. The essayists have playfully created a new Metaphysical Club open to all with courage to explore." —Wilton S.

Dillon, Senior Scholar Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

Wilton S. Dillon

These percipient 20 essays are like detonating explosives, profoundly disturbing to various intellectual universes, and highly appropriate to be published by an institution famed for pushing frontiers in science and technology. They connect the dots between the seen and unseen worlds. They require Kierkegaardian leaps of faith. They stretch referential meaningin order to understand human powers of wordless communication that we share with other animals. The essayists have playfully created a new Metaphysical Club open to all with courage to explore.

Philip Clayton
One does not realize how painfully narrow is our dataset concerning "conscious phenomena" until one works one"s way through this book. The astounding spectrum of human beliefs about and experiences of consciousness is here carefully organized, analyzed, and categorized. Many chapters, even as they evoke skepticism, make for spellbinding reading. Ambitiously interdisciplinary, this text will be superb for classroom use and could significantly influence the philosophy of mindif this field is willing to expand the range of its data in the ways here suggested.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262731843
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Helmut Wautischer is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at California State University,
Sonoma.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Foreword Robert A. F. Thurman Thurman, Robert A. F.

Preface Helmut Wautischer Wautischer, Helmut

Introduction Stanley Krippner Krippner, Stanley

I Expanding the Ontological Matrix 1

1 The Emptying of Ontology: The Tibetan Tantric View E. Richard Sorenson Sorenson, E. Richard 5

2 The Soul and Communication between Souls Edith L. B. Turner Turner, Edith L. B. 79

3 Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought in the Era of the Conquest James Maffie Maffie, James 97

4 Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul in Cross-Cultural Perspective Armand J. Labbe Labbe, Armand J. 127

5 Why One Is Not Another: The Brain-Mind Problem in Byzantine Culture Antoine Courban Courban, Antoine 163

6 Soul and Paideia: On the Philosophical Value of a Dialectical Relation Michael Polemis Polemis, Michael 193

II Localizing Subjective Action 205

7 Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind Hubert Markl Markl, Hubert 209

8 Consciousness Cannot Be Explained in Terms of Specific Neuronal Types and Circumscribed Neuronal Networks Mircea Steriade Steriade, Mircea 231

9 Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies Pavel B. Ivanov Ivanov, Pavel B. 241

10 The Priority of Local Observation and Local Interpretation in Evaluating the "Spirit Hypothesis" David J. Hufford Hufford, David J. 273

11 Effects of Relativistic Motions in the Brain and Their Physiological Relevance Mariela Szirko Szirko, Mariela 313

12 A Palindrome: Conscious Living Creatures as Instruments of Nature; Nature as an Instrument of Conscious Living Creatures Mario Crocco Crocco, Mario 359

III Experience of Existence 395

13 The Evolution ofConsciousness in Sri Aurobindo's Cosmopsychology Matthijs Cornelissen Cornelissen, Matthijs 399

14 An Existentialist Understanding of Consciousness Julia Watkin Watkin, Julia 429

15 Toward an Ontology of Consciousness with Nicolai Hartmann and Hans Jonas Karim Akerma Akerma, Karim 449

16 Thinking Like a Stone: Learning from the Zen Rock Garden Graham Parkes Parkes, Graham 475

17 The Concept of Person in African Thought: A Dialogue between African and Western Philosophies Heinz Kimmerle Kimmerle, Heinz 507

18 Of Indian God-Men and Miracle-Makers: The Case of Sathya Sai Baba Erlendur Haraldsson Haraldsson, Erlendur 525

19 Sentient Intelligence: Consciousness and Knowing in the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri Thomas B. Fowler Fowler, Thomas B. 549

20 Ontology of Consciousness: Reflections on Human Nature Thomas Szasz Szasz, Thomas 575

Epilogue Christian de Quincey de Quincey, Christian 587

Contributors 593

Index 605

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