Meditation and Philosophers of Mind

Although it will cause offence, I must admit to thinking that any philosopher of mind who refuses to practise some (broadly but appropriately defined) form of meditation is a fool.  Why?  Historically, philosophizing about the mind has arisen from phenomenological facts about our common experiences and how they could possibly fit into reality.  The trick is, meditation, engaged in diligently and over a long enough period of time, demonstrates that our naive phenomenology is actually wrong about a great many things.  In addition to helping with our direct or personal phenomenology, meditation communities have developed extensive theoretical/classificatory phenomenological schemas which are, in principle, testable (albeit, not necessarily by the  third-person methods favoured by laboratory science).  What analytic philosophy of mind desperately needs is a phenomenology of just this sort, both to help it get its concepts straight, but also to help it map phenomenology to neurobiology – a task that is of critical theoretical import for both materialists and dualists alike.


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