Further to 2014: The naturalist theory of consciousness was as successful as ever. (A similar level of success is expected in 2015) …
Berkeley philosopher Alva Noë at NPR,
One of the extraordinary and exciting claims advanced in Evan Thompson’s new book Waking, Dreaming, Being is that some meditative practices — for example the sorts of focused attention practices developed in some Buddhist traditions — can actually be thought of as techniques for attending to features of experience to which we usually pay no attention. Like artists and designers who learn to notice and see what most of us tend to ignore or neglect, adept meditators can see and notice things we rarely ever do. For this reason, if Thompson is right, these expert practitioners can play a special role not as guinea pigs, but as collaborators in the development of a better, more adequate neuroscience of human experience.
Now, Thompson’s book has a much broader focus than this. He advances a specific philosophical claim — that the self is a process, not a thing or an entity — and he examines and develops this claim in the light cast not only by contemporary cognitive science but also traditional Indian philosophy and contemplative practices that are descendent from those philosophical traditions (but are not identical to them). The book takes a cross-cultural, historical and trans-disciplinary look at the self as it is treated in these different settings. Along the way, Thompson thinks about death and dying and whether consciousness can be explained in neural terms alone, as well as much else. He also participates in an open and genuinely critical dialog between science and religion. More.
Note that insights from religion are “okay” as long as they are from a non-Western origin (presumably sanitized and anyway “exotic”) religion. As a matter of fact, the Western contemplative tradition is also a fully developed one, but if anyone tried to draw on it in this context, Days of Rage would likely follow.
No wonder naturalism never had a chance of getting anywhere with consciousness.
Never had. And never would have had.
Re Alva Noë, See also: Review: Alva Noe’s Out of Our Heads:
Noë seems to want to move away from reductive explanations, but not away from the materialism that underlies them. So he ends up with non-reductive explanations that still don’t explain. By the time he ends up arguing that most human language is like dogs barking, he sounds like the people he critiques.
Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away
Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?
Follow UD News at Twitter!