I don’t tend to reblog — if another post or article catches my eye, I prefer to use this space to respond to it and express my own thoughts on the topic / subject / etc — but I wanted to draw some quick attention to this piece. MWOC often highlights fascinating material, and I’m particularly drawn to work on consciousness and dreaming. I’m also very intrigued most arguments that draw on ancient / classical writings from any culture to critique or challenge modern cognitive science assumptions. Thompson’s book looks like one I’ll need to track down when it is released.
A terrific talk (see abstract below) by Evan Thompson as a curtain raiser to his forthcoming book from Columbia University Press entitled Waking, Dreaming, Being: New Light on the Self and Consciousness from Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy. In the meantime check out the expansive review of his Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind to be found in JMB.
One of the issues debated between the Advaita Vedānta and Nyāya schools in classical Indian philosophy is whether consciousness is present in dreamless sleep. Advaita Vedānta argues that the waking report “I slept well” is a memory report and hence requires previous experience, whereas Nyāya argues that the report expresses a retrospective inference. Consideration of this debate, especially the reasoning Advaita Vedānta uses to try to rebut the Nyāya view, calls into question the standard neuroscience way of operationally defining consciousness as that which disappears in…
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