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Buddhism and brain science

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Explanations of consciousness from both philosophy and cognitive science are traditionally conceived in terms of how an active self-consciousness relates to the various aspects of the world with which it is faced. This way of framing the problem is intuitive, but it also leads ultimately to an infinite regress. A better approach to consciousness is suggested by Buddhism, which responds to the regress by arguing that consciousness and its apparent relata are, in any given instance, actually simultaneously illuminated isolates of an underlying unity. This response circumvents the regress, but does not offer an explanation of consciousness as such. Nevertheless, insights such as this can be integrated into contemporary scientific theorizing about cognition and the brain with surprisingly fruitful results.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 269 Glenforest Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 2A5, Canada.

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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