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All that Glisters is not Gold: Heterophenomenology and Transpersonal Theory

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Anthony Freeman (2006) proposes that Dennett's heterophenomenology (HP) be fully integrated into transpersonal studies as a solution to the 'subtle Cartesianism' that Jorge Ferrer (2002) detects within the field. Methods virtually indistinguishable from HP are already in use within transpersonal research, so the issue of comparison lies deeper. On close analysis, Ferrer's approach cannot be situated within Dennett's (2003) data levels at all, for participatory transpersonalism conceives a profoundly different relationship between conscious subject and the world: a relational matrix of interacting subjects participating in the co- creation of the cosmos. HP, while valuable, is not adequate for a comprehensive study of consciousness. Its shortcomings can be illustrated by imagining an analogical discipline in the natural sciences: heterobotany. Limiting transpersonal inquiry to HP would represent a step backwards in the ongoing process of pioneering effective methods of consciousness research.
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Keywords: Dennett; Ferrer; Freeman; heterophenomenology; intersubjective; participatory; transpersonal

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 5275 Thomas Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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