Neurophenomenology and Contemplative Experience

Evan Thompson

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780199543656
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Neurophenomenology and Contemplative Experience

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Any discussion of the relationship between cognitive science and religion for different theoretical perspectives in cognitive science can combine with different scientific approaches to religion. This article proposes that certain contemplative wisdom traditions – Buddhism most notably, though not exclusively – and certain approaches in cognitive science – the embodied approach and neurophenomenology – are mutually informative and enlightening. Through back-and-forth circulation, each approach can reshape the other, leading to new conceptual and practical understandings for both. At stake in this possibility is nothing less than the prospect of a mature science of the mind that can begin to do justice to the rich and diverse traditions of human contemplative experience.

Keywords: cognitive science; Buddhism; neurophenomenology; contemplative experience; religion

Article.  4486 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religion and Science

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