Mind Beyond the Brain

Paul Marshall

in Mystical Encounters with the Natural World

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279432
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603440 | DOI:
Mind Beyond the Brain

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Spiritual approaches to mystical experience can be fleshed out with insights from the sciences and philosophy. Two overlapping ways of understanding the consciousness expansions of mystical experience are distinguished. Filtration theorists, such as Henri Bergson, William James, and Aldous Huxley, believe that access to previously subconscious material takes place when neurological or psychological valves open. Psychophysical theorists draw on mind-body metaphysics to explain how consciousness can reach into the world at large. Several metaphysical alternatives are considered, including dualism, dual-aspect theory, and neutral monism, but idealism emerges as best suited to the task. J. E. Mercer and Edward Carpenter proposed idealist explanations, and more recently, T. L. S. Sprigge has raised idealism in connection with nature mysticism. A panpsychic form of idealism that reworks Leibniz’s monadology is a particularly fertile option. It not only addresses the deeper unitive and noetic facets of extrovertive experience but may also shed light on the relativity and holism of modern physics.

Keywords: subconscious; filtration theory; psychical research; Huxley; mysticism; metaphysics; mind-body problem; idealism; Carpenter; Sprigge

Chapter.  13423 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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