• plaque flag
    2.7k
    The Meaning Crisis episode on Heidegger is here.Quixodian

    :up:
    Checking it out. Thanks !

    ***
    So far, he uses the later Heidegger more. I am surprised the equipmental nexus from the earlier work wasn't touched on along with circumspection and 'understanding.' This part of the work helps the reader notice the structure of their mundane existence which is otherwise mostly transparent.

    I think @Joshs mentioned the Harman interpretation.. As Vervaeke has it, speculative realism introduced or properly emphasized the horizon. Now the horizon is a beautiful idea, and it ultimately doesn't matter how one gets it, but it's incorrect to present Husserl as missing this. Indeed, his notion of the perspective-transcendent spatial object, which Sartre even uses to open Being in Time, is a perfect sample of the 'horizonal' elusiveness of the lifeworld, which Husserl emphasizes directly elsewhere. I gotta chime in, because I think Husserl and phenomenology in general is thought of very much in terms of subjectivity, which is not exactly wrong, but subjectivity turns to be...just the way the world is given, not some screen.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Another installment from the never-ending Vervaeke content stream. Listened to this one at my gym workout this morning, has a few egregious clangers (Australia drifting towards authoritarianism because of the lack of values of secular culture? :yikes: ) but still, some great ideas and themes.

  • Wayfarer
    21.1k

    Great current dialogos on The Philosopical Silk Road

    @ENOAH, @javra
  • tim wood
    8.9k
    I try to take my philosophy, such as it is - and maybe too generous to call it that - from the simple end of things, and to work up no higher than it will support itself. A stone is a stone, a stick a stick, a brick a brick. And if a scientist should tell us, as has been recently learned, that such things are made up of stunning emptiness, and their mass about two percent actual mass, the rest the energy of quarks traveling inside protons and neutrons at 300,000 km/second; and if we learn also that perception is merely representation but not to be confused with the thing itself, and so forth; still, it seems to me, while basic understanding may be subject to elucidation and qualification, it nevertheless still stands. The brick still a brick, whether for a bricklayer, Krazy Kat, or e. e. cummings.

    Which means I can make no sense of "Transcendent Naturalism." Does anyone here have the ambition to try make some sense of the term in a sentence or two, or three?

    I find this online:
    "Transcendence—experience beyond the ordinary—is perhaps most powerfully felt not in our encounter with universals, but when we are overcome by particulars, experiences that are supremely individual. For some, it is triggered by new romance, an exercise high, the culminating moment of a particular song, knowing in the core of your being that you are doing something good, sudden acceptance of profound insight, or sex. It’s a very personal thing. Every once in a while, out of the blue...".

    Is this it?
  • flannel jesus
    1.6k
    There seems to be a bit of a wave of this material about - an attempt at rebuilding a discourse on meaning from the wreckage of humanism/scientism/materialism towards transcendental matters. Is Vervaeke a Platonist?Tom Storm

    There was already some discussion on this previously, but I don't think anybody said this explicitly:

    Regarding the mind, and the things the mind does, and why and how it does them, he's 100% a "it's all in the brain" type of guy. He's said as much explicitly at least once or twice in a podcast I listened to.

    I think there's a lot of misconceptions about matierliasm - it's not the boogyman many of you seem to think it is, as Janus points out.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    I think there's a lot of misconceptions about matierliasm - it's not the boogyman many of you seem to think it is, as Janus points out.flannel jesus
    Some here seem to think of materialism, (better known now as physicalism or naturalism) as superficial and untenable nonsense. I don't hold a particular view of this since I am not a theoretical physicist, or a philosopher. I just live in the world I experience and get on with things. :wink:
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    I don't know where you sourced that quote. As explained in the OP: John Vernaeke is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He currently teaches courses on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on cognitive development, intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the psychology of wisdom.

    Vervaeke is the director of University of Toronto’s Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Laboratory and its Cognitive Science program, where he teaches Introduction to Cognitive Science and The Cognitive Science of Consciousness, emphasizing the 4E model, which contends that cognition and consciousness are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended beyond the brain.

    Vervaeke has taught courses on Buddhism and Cognitive Science in the Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health program for 15 years.

    some here seem to think of materialism, (better known now as physicalism or naturalism) as superficial and untenable nonsenseTom Storm

    I see physicalism as the implicit consensus, the common-sense understanding of life and mind, that is one of the consequences of Enlightenment rationalism. Vervaeke addresses it indirectly - the initial lecture series that became popular on Youtube was called 'Awakening from the Meaning Crisis', described as follows:

    We are in the midst of a mental health crisis. There are increases in anxiety disorders, depression, despair, and suicide rates are going up in North America, parts of Europe, and other parts of the world. This mental health crisis is itself due to, and engaged with, crises in the environment and the political system, those in turn are enmeshed within a deeper cultural historical crisis that John Vervaeke calls “The Meaning Crisis”. It’s more and more pervasive throughout our lives. And there’s a sense of drowning in this old ocean of bullshit. And we have to understand, why is this the case? And what can we do about it?

    Today, there is an increase of people feeling very disconnected from themselves, from each other, from the world, and from a viable and foreseeable future. Let’s discuss this, let’s work on it together, let’s rationally reflect on it. Getting out of this problem is going to be tremendously difficult. It’s going to require significant transformations in our cognition, our culture, our communities. And in order to move forward in such a difficult manner, we have to reach more deeply into our past to salvage the resources we can for such an amazing challenge.

    That links to a series of 51 lectures which can be found here:

    This series provides a historical genealogy – beginning 40,000 years ago – that explores the rise and fall of meaning in the West, and the philosophy, religion and science that nurtured it. Vervaeke examines how human beings evolved to be meaning-making creatures, and why this is so essential to our culture and cognition. The series explores how the decline of meaningful worldviews has paved the way for various modern ailments, such as our political, environmental and mental health crises, and the rising suicide rates in North America and around the world.

    At the very least, it's worth scrolling through the lecture titles. My view is, that it is extraordinarily relevant to what we are always discussing on thephilosophyforum, in fact for the next few months I'm going to spend more time listening and less posting.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I can make no sense of "Transcendent Naturalism." Does anyone here have the ambition to try make some sense of the term in a sentence or two, or three?tim wood
    :wink: FWIW, here's a sentence:

    Plebian philosophical naturalist that I am, the only sense I can make of the term "transcendent naturalism" (pace @Wayfarer) is as a conception of beings-in-nature (e.g. embodied subjects) that is both (A) "beyond" subjective – neither anthropocentric nor egocentric (i.e. impersonal) – and (B) "beyond" super-natural – encompassed by unbounded immanence insofar as nature transcends whatever happens in nature because nature (and its constituents (e.g. embodied subjects)) cannot transcend nature (à la (e.g.) Epicureanism, Spinozism, Zapffe-Camus' absurdism & other anti-cartesianisms / anti-platonisms) – which is (C) epistemically consistent with (corroborated by?) human facticity, everyday ordinary experience, historicity-historiography and modern natural sciences ("Thus, we have art [make believe, magical thinking, woo-woo] in order not to perish from the truth" ~Nietzsche). :fire:
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    I've watched a number vids by Vervaeke and been aware of his work for a long time. I find him dull as dishwater. Whether he is adding anything useful to philosophy is up to others to determine.

    Personally, I don't think we can demonstrate that meaning eludes us now more than in the past. This nostalgia movement or 'paradise lost' frame seems somewhat wonky to me. I think what confuses people is that we have moved away from dominant homogeneous cultural expressions into a world of energetic pluralism and multiculturalism and this is read as a lack of certainty and meaning. Diversity has certainly undermined the old metanarratives and I am not convinced that this is a bad thing.

    I suspect Vervaeke sits with all those theorists and self-help folk who seek to offer a remedy for common anxiety. He's certainly no snake oil salesman, he seems likable and sincere, but I doubt he has all that much I can use.
  • Apustimelogist
    395


    Today, there is an increase of people feeling very disconnected from themselves, from each other, from the world, and from a viable and foreseeable future. Let’s discuss this, let’s work on it together, let’s rationally reflect on it. Getting out of this problem is going to be tremendously difficult. It’s going to require significant transformations in our cognition, our culture, our communities. And in order to move forward in such a difficult manner, we have to reach more deeply into our past to salvage the resources we can for such an amazing challenge.

    Not a fan of this. Just comes across as suggesting this stuff produces some kind of secret sauce to salvation which is independent to other structural factors going on in society. How many times in the past have things like this been offered as solutions. What happened to the hippies of '67? Transcendental meditation.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    What happened to the hippies of '67?Apustimelogist

    One of them started Apple Computer..


    I suspect Vervaeke sits with all those theorists and self-help folk who seek to offer a remedy for common anxiety.Tom Storm

    And I think that's a very small-minded way of looking at it. Vervaeke’s opus is nearer my interests than most of what is written about here, and he's a legitimate academic, he's not fringe or crank. He dialogues with a lot of interesting people and they cover a lot of topics in depth. The reason he's developed a following is because he's saying something that needs to be said, and that a lot of people needed to hear, shame folks here don't appreciate that, but nothing I can say is likely to change it.

    Anyway, I'm logging out for a while, posting here has become too much of a habit, and it profiteth nothing. I need to develop some other interests.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    and he's a legitimate academic, he's not fringe or crank.Wayfarer

    Never said he wasn't. My point is that times have changed, along with the stories we tell each other, and this causes many anxiety. I do not subscribe to this all being a product of rationalism, a disenchanted world and a post-enlightenment fugue state wherein we have lost touch with a purer philosophy.

    You seem to like V because you are already a fan of countercultural metaphysics, from your early days of Alan Watts. That's fine. My aesthetic and emotional biases don't necessarily click with this stuff.

    the reason he's developed a following is because he's saying something that needs to be said, and that a lot of people needed to hear, shame folks here don't appreciate that, but nothing I can say is likely to change it.Wayfarer

    Isn't it ok not to be on board with him? Developing a following means little; Trump has a following. Not comparing the output of the two. Actually Trump is probably a symptom of the same thing Veraeke is. The old stories have lost their power, pluralism and diversity is confusing people and many long to go back to making something great again, whether it be philosophy or the nation itself.
  • Apustimelogist
    395
    One of them started Apple Computer..Wayfarer

    And according to some, that has only exacerbated the culturo-emotional malaise talked about in your other post.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Anyway, I'm logging out for a while, posting here has become too much of a habit, and it profiteth nothing. I need to develop some other interests.Wayfarer

    Only do what you can manage, but I for one really value your contributions. You do a stellar job as an advocate for, and synthesizer of, the more interesting accounts of idealism and higher awareness.
  • Moliere
    4.2k


    I second Tom.

    I still read you, though often can't respond.

    I know we disagree on much, but that, to me, is the point of being here: to hear others.
  • Manuel
    4k


    I find some of his discussions, especially his most recent one with Curt Jaimungal (a FANTASTIC podcast btw, Theories of Everything) to be very very good.

    On other occasions, a bit less so, I'm not do drawn to the "meaning" crisis, as he uses the term and he is prone to use a lot of jargon in his papers.

    But yeah, he has interesting things to say. :up:
  • tim wood
    8.9k
    That's some sentence! Kindly allow or disallow this paraphrase; viz, That transcendent naturalism (TN) is a way of being primordially that is nothing supernatural, that is pre-personal, and that comports without unnatural boundary with the world as it worlds. Or more briefly, TN is the natural and common state of most cats.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    TN is the natural and common state of most [hep]cats.tim wood
    :smirk: :up:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    That's some sentencetim wood

    180 in the usual form...absolutely incomprehensible.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    Anyway, I'm logging out for a while, posting here has become too much of a habit, and it profiteth nothing. I need to develop some other interestsWayfarer

    Hope you dont log out too soon. Im fascinated by Vervaeke’s quest to marry spirituality and cognitive science. As you know, Varela and Thomson have also gone down this road. I’m working on a paper comparing enactivism and poststructuralism, particularly when it comes to ethics.
    Just last month, Shaun Gallagher gave a talk (posted on youtube) answering the question as to whether enactivsm has anything to say about ethics. His answer was that if we embrace forms of enactivism that follow Dreyfus’s notion of unreflective skilled coping, then we end up with a form of phronesis as ‘cleverness’, but with no orientation toward the Good.

    Gallagher offers that Varela’s incorporation of buddhist themes of mindfulness gives enactivism a way to make skilled coping about more than cleverness. We can see it instead as directed by an ethical knowhow that achieves a benevolent posture through the giving up of egoistic habits of grasping. The awareness of the no self within the self leads to a compassionate stance toward others. This seems to be where spirituality comes into play for Varela and Thompson, and it illustrates how the progress of a science can come around to affirming what the spiritual disciplines knew. The science of enactivism can support a spirituality not only on the basis of its alignment with buddhism but also with certain strands of phenomenology. God is a core element of the phenomenologies of Scheler, Stein, Vattimo, Marion and Henry, and something like God lurks within Levinas’s thinking.

    I know that Thompson has struggled to locate himself with respect to various spiritual communities since his upbringing in the midst of the Lindesfarne commune. As you may know , he wrote a book called ‘Why I Am Not a Buddhist’. He seems to be wanting to find a path of spirituality that doesn’t end up as a doctrine or a foundationalism . I can’t help but feel that, while he and Vervaeke share so much in common in terms of philosophical and psychological theory, he would find Varveake’s form of spiritual anchoring to be too essentializing. Part of the difference between them at be that Vervaeke seems to be more of a realist when it comes to cognitive science than Thompson is, and scientific realism may be a better fit for the kind of religiosity that Verveake is pursuing than enactivist relativism.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    And I think that's a very small-minded way of looking at it. Vervaeke’s opus is nearer my interests than most of what is written about here, and he's a legitimate academic, he's not fringe or crank. He dialogues with a lot of interesting people and they cover a lot of topics in depth. The reason he's developed a following is because he's saying something that needs to be said, and that a lot of people needed to hear, shame folks here don't appreciate that, but nothing I can say is likely to change it.Wayfarer

    I think Vervaeke's work is worthwhile and important, and represents a much-needed juncture between praxis and theoria. As with Peterson, I often feel that he is forging a new path through the jungle when a well-worn trail is only a few feet to his right, but perhaps that's as it should be. I admire his fidelity to Plato, both in content and in form. He definitely has a therapeutic angle on the traditions he explores, but this too is not in itself a bad thing. I think he is laudably good at moving philosophy out of its superficial ruts, and more than anything I enjoy his receptive demeanor. He is clearly a contemplative with a deep spiritual life, and not someone who merely thinks or talks. For me this is the crucial difference in a Plato, Aristotle, or Aquinas (and many others too, of course). I'd say it is no coincidence that Hume did not access the higher parts of the divided line.

    I also find it pretty interesting the way that Vervaeke comes from a Christian upbringing that was somewhere in the vicinity of fundamentalism, and that because of this he is a bit averse and suspicious of the Christian and later Western traditions. It is very common to see someone shift towards Eastern religions--usually Buddhism--and eventually begin to reassess a broader and deeper Western heritage. That's also what happened with me.

    - Yes, ditto - haha.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Thanks for the affirmation! on both counts.

    Hope you dont log out too soon.Joshs

    I keep saying I will, but then, as Michael Corleone put it....

    And that project you're working on sound fascinating.

    Meanwhile I'm going to work through Vervaeke's original series - it's the kind of material you can listen to on walks or driving, and I'm doing a fair amount of both. I'm not 'fixating' on him or anything, it's just that he's got a real 'integral' approach, and he's very learned. He's kind of doing what Ken Wilber tried to do, but Wilber was always an outsider to the academy.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Gallagher offers that Varela’s incorporation of buddhist themes of mindfulness gives enactivism a way to make skilled coping about more than cleverness. We can see it instead as directed by an ethical knowhow that achieves a benevolent posture through the giving up of egoistic habits of grasping. The awareness of the no self within the self leads to a compassionate stance toward others. This seems to be where spirituality comes into play for Varela and Thompson, and it illustrates how the progress of a science can come around to affirming what the spiritual disciplines knew.Joshs

    Beautifully said thank you.
  • tim wood
    8.9k
    The awareness of the no self within the self... illustrates how the progress of a science can come around to affirming what the spiritual disciplines knew.Joshs
    I understand "no self" - perhaps more accurately no-self - as the self "under bare poles." That is, not any sort of negation of self, but instead the self itself. This implies elemental, fundamental, primordial, original, even maybe primitive.

    But I suspect what is meant is a refined and elevated self able to deny its self, which on the basis of relevant considerations does deny its self. And thereby being aspirational for some people. I suppose the science to be one that investigates first exactly what self is in order to know what no-self is, and then whether it's possible or desirable - these all seeming more in the way of a psychology than science. If a science, it would be good to know what science, by what criteria.

    The suggestion that no-self is self-denial is strong and seductive. But we cannot all be Sydney Carton. There must also be a Charles and Lucy, else no-self an obscene exercise in absurdity. It would seem, then, that no-self must yield to self. Or to complete the sailing metaphor, that the ship be fully rigged and flagged - purposed - fully enselfed, ensouled. But these not negations but affirmations.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    I understand "no self" - perhaps more accurately no-self - as the self "under bare poles." That is, not any sort of negation of self, but instead the self itself. This implies elemental, fundamental, primordial, original, even maybe primitivetim wood

    Let’s take the no-self as Varela and Thompson understand it within the framework of enactive cognitive science:

    …the word self is a convenient way of referring to a series of mental and bodily events and formations, that have a degree of causal coherence and integrity through time. And the capitalized Self does exemplify our sense that hidden in these transitory formations is a real, unchanging essence that is the source of our identity and that we must protect. But this latter conviction may be unfounded and can actually be harmful. If there were a solid, really existing self hidden in or behind the aggregates, its unchangeableness would prevent any experience from occurring; its static nature would make the constant arising and subsiding of experience come to a screeching halt.

    …cognition and experience do not appear to have a truly existing self, and the habitual belief in such an ego-self, the continual grasping to such a self, is the basis of the origin and continuation of human suffering and habitual patterns. In our culture, science has contributed to the awakening of this sense of the lack of a fixed self but has only described it from afar. Science has shown us that a fixed self is not necessary for mind but has not provided any way of dealing with the basic fact that this no-longer-needed self is precisely the ego-self that everyone clings to and holds most dear. By remaining at the level of description, has yet to awaken to the idea that the experience of mind, not merely without some impersonal, hypothetical, and theoretically constructed self but without ego-self, can be profoundly transformative.(Embodied Mind)
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    …the word self is a convenient way of referring to a series of mental and bodily events and formations, that have a degree of causal coherence and integrity through time. And the capitalized Self does exemplify our sense that hidden in these transitory formations is a real, unchanging essence that is the source of our identity and that we must protect. But this latter conviction may be unfounded and can actually be harmful. If there were a solid, really existing self hidden in or behind the aggregates, its unchangeableness would prevent any experience from occurring; its static nature would make the constant arising and subsiding of experience come to a screeching halt.

    Sounds almost Dennett-like here.
  • tim wood
    8.9k
    If there were a solid, really existing self hidden in or behind the aggregates, its unchangeableness would prevent any experience from occurring; its static nature would make the constant arising and subsiding of experience come to a screeching halt.
    This seems an extreme and untenable claim.

    But a closer look: it may be that my self is a continually emerging product, its history and durability an illusion made up on the fly each and every moment. But the presence and actions of others both animate and inanimate make that an impossible position to hold. There is manifestly a persistence and consistency characterizing events and the self in time. Thus not an either-or of self, but instead a neither-nor. The self, then, existing, but continually evolving and changing, usually unnoticeably from day-to-day, some parts more susceptible of change, and some resistant. And some trans-generational.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Anatta (no-self) is major theme in Buddhism. The passage that @Joshs provides is a good example. 1 As it happens, this was also the subject of my MA thesis in Buddhist Studies, so here I'll share some of my thesis work on that issue.

    Despite the frequent association of the term with Buddhism, I think the principle of no-self is very easily misconstrued. Consider this verse from the early Buddhist texts. 2

    Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

    When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

    "Then is there no self?"

    A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

    Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

    The 'wanderer Vachagotta' is a figure in these texts associated with the posing of philosophical questions. The Buddha's non-response in such circumstances is generally designated a 'noble silence' wherein he declines to answer questions positively or negatively. 3

    The verse continues:

    Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

    "Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

    "No, lord."

    "And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"

    By not affirming or denying the existence of a self, the Buddha avoids reinforcing a dualistic view that could lead to further attachment or confusion which leads to the formation of dogmatic views (ditthi) in either a positive (religious) or negative (nihilist) sense.3 In Theravada Buddhism, this insight is foundational, directing the mind towards the non-conceptual understanding that the self is a dynamic process comprising the conjugation of aggregates (form, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness).

    But it's important to understand what, exactly, is being denied, and I think there is a good deal of confusion over this, even amongst the highly educated. (It was a constant source of argument on DharmaWheel where I was mod for a time.) In the thesis, I present several passages of the kind of 'eternal unchanging self' that the Buddha rejects.

    The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, set firmly as a post. And though these beings rush around, circulate, pass away and re-arise, but this remains eternally. (DN1.1.32) 4

    Here, the ‘this’ which 'remains eternally' is believed to be something enduring, within which ‘beings rush around, circulate and re-arise’. This arises from the Vedic principle of sat as being ‘what really exists’, distinguished from asat, illusory or unreal. Hence in this formulation, sat is what is ‘eternal, unchangeable, set firmly as a post’, and thus distinguishable from saṃsāra or maya.

    In another verse, the Alagaddūpama Sutta criticizes those who think:
    This is the self, this is the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, not subject to change; I shall endure as long as eternity’ - this too he regards thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’.

    This is designated as 'eternalism', one of the two 'extreme views' associated with death and re-birth. The other 'extreme view' is nihilism, that the body is a purely material phenomenon and that there are no consequences for actions after death 5

    But - this is the crucial point, not generally acknowledged in my view - in none of this is agency denied. How could it be, in a doctrine to which karma is central? There is a verse in which the Buddha explicitly denies the claim that there is no agent (self-doer or other-doer, i.e. self and other, see Attakārī Sutta.)

    What is denied is the eternally-existing, unchangeable self posited by the Brahmins. And also that there is, anywhere, an unchanging element, thing or being - hence the designation of 'all dharmas' ('dharmas' here meaning 'experienced realities') as anatta, devoid of self (and also anicca, impermanent, and dukkha, unsatisfying.) In the Buddha's context, what I think he was rejecting was the religious view that through the right sacrificial practices, one could secure favourable re-births indefinitely or dwell in an eternal heaven. But he also rejects the view that physical death terminates the process that gives rise to individual existence in the first place. Getting insight into that process unties the Gordian knot of existence. And yes, that is hard to fathom!

    -----

    Notes:

    1. The text cited is from The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, by Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch. It was a hugely influential book originally published in 1991, revised edition 2015, which combined insights from cognitive science, phenomenology and Buddhist abhidharma (philosophical psychology). Worth noting that more recently Evan Thompson has published Why I am Not a Buddhist, in which he explains why he doesn't designate himself Buddhist, although he maintains a 'friendly' attitude to Buddhism and continues to draw on its insights. Thompson is now Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.

    2. The 'early Buddhist texts' refer to the Pali canon, which are the texts of the Theravada Buddhism. The Pali language is an extinct dialect which is only preserved in these texts, although it is closely related to Sanskrit, in which the later Mahāyāna corpus was preserved. Translations of the Pali texts are preserved in the Mahāyāna corpus as the 'nikayas' or 'agamas' along with the Mahāyāna Sutras which are not recognised in Theravada Buddhism.

    3. In this there is a correspondence to the 'aporia' of the Platonic dialogues, which are in effect invitations for the questioner/listener to consider a matter more deeply. There are a list of questions categorised as 'undeclared' which occupy this category, with Vachagotta representing the usual protagonist in such dialogues. These have been compared to Kant's 'antinomies of reason'.

    4. Note here the phrase 'self-and-world' which are often written as a pair, which suggests the 'co-arising of subject and object', also a theme in phenomenology. I've never quite got to the bottom of the Pali term which is translated as 'self-and-world'.

    5. @Tom Storm - Dennett's materialism would be categorised as a form of nihilism, according to the Brahmajala Sutta, 'the Net of Views', which meticulously documents the 64 (magic number!) varieties of eternalist and nihilist views. It is the first and longest text of the Pali suttas. Materialists such as Dennett were well-known in the Buddha's day and were represented in the texts by various figures, including one Prince Payasi, who had condemned prisoners put to death inside a clay jar, weighed before and after their deaths, to try and ascertain whether the release of their soul could be detected by the scales.

    See also

    Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.