The View from Within: First-Person Approaches to the Study of Consciousness

Shear, Jonathan
ISBN:
9780907845256

Over the last decade there has been a resurgence of interest in the scientific study of consciousness -- an area that has been largely ignored since the time of William James. This renaissance has primarily been stimulated by developments in PET, fMRI and other brain-scanning technology that enable scientists to pinpoint the neural correlates of conscious experience with ever-increasing accuracy. However, the study of conscious experience itself has not kept pace with these advances in third-person methodologies. If anything, the standard approaches to examining the 'view from within' involve little more than cataloging its readily accessible components. Thus the study of lived subjective experience is still at the level of Aristotelian science. This has led many to deny that there could possibly be such a thing as a truly scientific study of conscious experience, or at least to ask: can one be objective about the subjective? Drawing on a wide range of approaches -- from phenomenology to meditation -- THE VIEW FROM WITHIN examines the possibility of a disciplined approach to the study of subjective states. The focus is on the practical issues involved. Read More Show Less Editorial Reviews From the Publisher 'The publication is very timely indeed. It is a splendid initiative.' Dan Zahavi, Times Literary Supplement This is an important collection addressing what is arguably the greatest challenge now facing a science of consciousness. Such a science must connect third-person data about brain and behavior with first-person data about conscious experience. But how do we gather the first-person data, and how can we represent it? This book explores sophisti-cated ideas from a variety of traditions. I hope it sets the agenda for a renewed investiga-tion of first-person methodologies and formalisms in the next few years. David Chalmers This looks like a great book series -- a valuable extension of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. You publish a lot of things that would not be published in routine philosophical and scientific journals, and that seems to me exactly right at our present state of the investigation of consciousness. We don't know how it works and we need to try all kinds of different ideas. John Searle Since William James, there has been remarkably little attention in the sciences of the mind to the detailed investigation of conscious experience at the personal level. THE VIEW FROM WITHIN advances such investigation along several fronts, with articles on introspection, phenomenology, and meditative psychology. Especially valuable is the editors introduction, which provides a useful guide to the methodology of first-person accounts, and the articles that build bridges to cognitive science, psychiatry, and the scientific study of meditation techniques. Invited commentaries by leading investigators of consciousness, together with authors' replies, make for a provocative presentation that will be discussed for some time to come. Evan Thompson THE VIEW FROM WITHIN is a major statement, and a brilliant presentation, of the need to include first-person accounts in a science of consciousness. The editors sensibly maintain that a judicious balance of first-, second-, and third-person perspectives is not only desirable but unavoidable in any satisfactory study of consciousness. But their integrative approach is not merely a theoretical call for such; they provide instances of precisely how such a comprehensive approach can be pragmatically executed. As such, this book marks a major milestone in the science of consciousness, and it will surely become one of the standard references in the field. Ken Wilber THE VIEW FROM WITHIN provides a much needed counterbalance to the reigning trends in consciousness research. By emphasizing the importance of first person perspectives, and situating them within the context of third person accounts, one begins to see how a fully integrated research program into consciousness might develop in the future. These essays will establish an important beachhead directed towards a rich, multifaceted investigation of consciousness. Arthur Zajonc Trends in Cognitive Science Models of the Self is a challenging and provocative book. Itis not an easy read, but the insights and rewards are great. Times Higher Education Supplement Models of the Self should be of interest to all thinking human beings. Times Literary Supplement Successfully spans a multidisciplinary mix of fields, from psychology and cognitive science through philosophy and mysticism

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