Brain-challenged self and self-challenged brain: The central impasse in consciousness studies

Publication Type:

Book Chapters


Brain science and kokoro: Asian perspectives on science and religion, Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture, Nagoya, Japan, p.79–120 (2011)



Under the aegis of a Templetion Foundation project on ?Global Perspectives on Science & Spirituality? (gpss), scientists and humanities scholars from Japan, China, Korea, India, Russia, and the United States discuss the most recent discoveries in Brain Science and apply it to age-old questions of consciousness, mind, spirituality, and the self. The japanese concept of kokoro?a broad concept that includes the rational workings of the ?mind? and the emotional feelings of the ?heart,? as well as the movings of the ?spirit? and the impulses of the ?will??served as a foil for rethinking these issues and proposing new perspectives. Can we create a new ?science of mind?? Can we go beyond the dichotomy of rational vs. emotional? How can we avoid the twin extremes of absolute dualism and total reductionism? Can brain studies on spatial navigation teach us about ?spiritual navigation?? Is the boundary between humans and other primates breaking down? How much can we learn about meditation and religious experience through neuroscience? What does it mean to say ?I?? The essays and discussions in this volume wrestle with these questions and more, and present a challenge for us to reexamine our assumptions concerning human experience.


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