IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/zna/indecs/v11y2013i4p391-399.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Demystifying Consciousness With Mysticism? Cognitive Science and Mystical Traditions

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastjan Vörös

    () (Faculty of Arts - University of Ljubljana)

Abstract

The article considers whether, and how, current scientific studies of consciousness might benefit from insights of mystical traditions. Although considerable effort has been expanded towards introducing mysticism into mainstream cognitive science, the topic is still controversial, not least because of the multifariousness of meaning associated with the term (from "illogical thinking" through "visions" and "raptures" to "paranormal" and "psychopathological phenomena"). In the context of the present article, mysticism is defined as a set of practices, beliefs, values etc. developed within a given religious tradition to help the practitioner realize the experiential and existential transformations associated with mystical experiences, i.e. experiences characterized by the breakdown of the subject-object dichotomy. It is then examined in which areas mysticism so defined might provide beneficial for consciousness studies; broadly, three such areas are identified: phenomenological research (mysticism as a repository of unique experiential material and practical know-how for rigorous phenomenological analyses), the problem of the self (mysticism as a repository of experiential-existential insights into one's fundamental selflessness), and the so-called hard problem of consciousness (mysticism as a unique experiential-existential answer to the mind-body problem). It is contended that, contrary to popular belief, cognitive science could benefit from insights and practices found in mystical traditions, especially by way of grounding its findings in the lived experience and thereby (potentially) demystifying some of its self-imposed abstract conundrums.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastjan Vörös, 2013. "Demystifying Consciousness With Mysticism? Cognitive Science and Mystical Traditions," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 11(4), pages 391-399.
  • Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:391-399
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://indecs.eu/2013/indecs2013-pp391-399.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mysticism; philosophy of (cognitive) science; phenomenology; consciousness; epistemology;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:391-399. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Josip Stepanic). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.