Gregory Nixon University of Northern British Columbia
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  • Faculty, University of Northern British Columbia
  • PhD, Louisiana State University, 1992.

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About me
I am a seeker for understanding or experience beyond words, yet I know that language cannot take us to truths beyond language. However, I still believe the philosophic quest is important for clarifying and enriching our individual lives and the human condition.
My works
25 items found.
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  1.  56
    Gregory M. Nixon (forthcoming). Luminescent Physicalism, A Book Review of Evan Thompson's *Waking, Dreaming, Being*. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Studies.
    This is a fine book by an extraordinary author whose literary followers have awaited a definitive statement of his views on consciousness since his participation in the important book on biological autopoiesis, The Embodied Mind (Varela, Thompson, & Rosch, 1991) and his recent neurophenomenology of biological systems, Mind in Life (2007). In the latter book, Thompson demonstrated the continuity of life and mind, whereas in this book he uses neurophenomenology as well as erudite renditions of Buddhist philosophy and a good (...)
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  2.  94
    Gregory M. Nixon (2015). Development of Cultural Consciousness: From the Perspective of a Social Constructivist. International Journal of Education and Social Science 2 (10):119-136.
    In this condensed survey, I look to recent perspectives on evolution suggesting that cultural change likely alters the genome. Since theories of development are nested within assumptions about evolution (evo-devo), I next review some oft-cited developmental theories and other psychological theories of the 20th century to see if any match the emerging perspectives in evolutionary theory. I seek theories based neither in nature (genetics) nor nurture (the environment) but in the creative play of human communication responding to necessity. This (...)
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  3. Gregory M. Nixon (2013). Scientism, Philosophy and Brain-Based Learning. Northwest Journal of Teacher Education 11 (2):113-144.
    [This is an edited and improved version of "You Are Not Your Brain: Against 'Teaching to the Brain'" previously published in *Review of Higher Education and Self-Learning* 5(15), Summer 2012.] Since educators are always looking for ways to improve their practice, and since empirical science is now accepted in our worldview as the final arbiter of truth, it is no surprise they have been lured toward cognitive neuroscience in hopes that discovering how the brain learns will provide a nutshell (...)
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  4. Gregory M. Nixon (2012). You Are Not Your Brain: Against 'Teaching to the Brain'. Review of Higher Education and Self-Learning 5 (15):69-83.
    Since educators are always looking for ways to improve their practice, and since empirical science is now accepted in our worldview as the final arbiter of truth, it is no surprise they have been lured toward cognitive neuroscience in hopes that discovering how the brain learns will provide a nutshell explanation for student learning in general. I argue that identifying the person with the brain is scientism (not science), that the brain is not the person, and that it is the (...)
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  5. Gregory Nixon (2011). Breaking Out of One's Head (& Awakening to the World). Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 2 (7):1006-1022.
    Herein, I review the moment in my life when I awoke from the dream of self to find being as part of the living world. It was a sudden, momentous event that is difficult to explain since transcending the self ultimately requires transcending the language structures of which the self consists. Since awakening to the world took place beyond the enclosure of self-speech, it also took place outside our symbolic construction of time. It is strange to place this event and (...)
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  6. Gregory Nixon (2011). Between-Two: On the Borderline of Being & Time. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 2 (2):150-164.
    The purpose of this review article is to attempt to come to grips with the elusive vision of Gordon Globus, especially as revealed in this, his latest book. However, one can only grip that which is tangible and solid and Globus’s marriage of Heideggerian anti-concepts and “quantum neurophilosophy” seems purposefully to evade solidity or grasp. This slippery anti-metaphysics is sometimes a curse for the reader seeking imagistic or conceptual clarity, but, on the other hand, it is also the blessing that (...)
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  7. Gregory Nixon (2011). Editor's Introduction: Transcending Self-Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 2 (7):889-1022.
    What is this thing we each call “I” and consider the eye of consciousness, that which beholds objects in the world and objects in our minds? This inner perceiver seems to be the same I who calls forth memories or images at will, the I who feels and determines whether to act on those feelings or suppress them, as well as the I who worries and makes plans and attempts to avoid those worries and act on those plans. Am I (...)
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  8. Gregory Nixon (ed.) (2011). Self-Transcendent Experience: Narrative & Analysis. QuantumDream, Inc..
    How one transcends the self depends on the self that experiences it. Is it instigated or sought, does it happen by accident, or by an act of Grace? Is it common or rare? Is it brought on by the ingestion of psychedelic agents or by meditation or by being overcome by fear or merely by caring more about the welfare of others than oneself? Is it transcendence to experience a shift of perspective or dissolution of the self? In the pages (...)
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  9. Gregory Nixon (2010). Hollows of Memory: From Individual Consciousness to Panexperientialism & Beyond. QuantumDream, Inc..
    The question under discussion is metaphysical and truly elemental. It emerges in two aspects – how did we come to be conscious of our own existence, and, as a deeper corollary, do existence and awareness necessitate each other? I am bold enough to explore these questions and I invite you to come along; I make no claim to have discovered absolute answers. However, I do believe I have created here a compelling interpretation. You’ll have to judge for yourself.
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  10. Gregory Nixon (ed.) (2010). Time & Consciousness: Two Faces of One Mystery. QuantumDream, Inc..
    In what follows, I suggest that, against most theories of time, there really is an actual present, a now, but that such an eternal moment cannot be found before or after time. It may even be semantically incoherent to say that such an eternal present exists since “it” is changeless and formless (presumably a dynamic chaos without location or duration) yet with creative potential. Such a field of near-infinite potential energy could have had no beginning and will have no end, (...)
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  11. Gregory M. Nixon (2010). From Panexperientialism to Conscious Experience: The Continuum of Experience. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 1 (3):216-233.
    When so much is being written on conscious experience, it is past time to face the question whether experience happens that is not conscious of itself. The recognition that we and most other living things experience non-consciously has recently been firmly supported by experimental science, clinical studies, and theoretic investigations; the related if not identical philosophic notion of experience without a subject has a rich pedigree. Leaving aside the question of how experience could become conscious of itself, I aim here (...)
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  12.  94
    Gregory M. Nixon (2010). Hollows of Experience. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 1 (3):234-288.
    This essay is divided into two parts, deeply intermingled. Part I examines not only the origin of conscious experience but also how it is possible to ask of our own consciousness how it came to be. Part II examines the origin of experience itself, which soon reveals itself as the ontological question of Being. The chief premise of Part I is that symbolic communion and the categorizations of language have enabled human organisms to distinguish between themselves as actually existing entities (...)
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  13. Gregory M. Nixon (2010). Preface/Introduction — Hollows of Memory: From Individual Consciousness to Panexperientialism and Beyond. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 1 (3):213-215.
    Preface/Introduction: The question under discussion is metaphysical and truly elemental. It emerges in two aspects — how did we come to be conscious of our own existence, and, as a deeper corollary, do existence and awareness necessitate each other? I am bold enough to explore these questions and I invite you to come along; I make no claim to have discovered absolute answers. However, I do believe I have created here a compelling interpretation. You’ll have to judge for yourself. -/- (...)
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  14. Gregory M. Nixon (2010). Myth and Mind: The Origin of Consciousness in the Discovery of the Sacred. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 1 (3):289-337.
    By accepting that the formal structure of human language is the key to understanding the uniquity of human culture and consciousness and by further accepting the late appearance of such language amongst the Cro-Magnon, I am free to focus on the causes that led to such an unprecedented threshold crossing. In the complex of causes that led to human being, I look to scholarship in linguistics, mythology, anthropology, paleontology, and to creation myths themselves for an answer. I conclude that prehumans (...)
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  15. Gregory M. Nixon (2010). Editorial: Time & Experience: Twins of the Eternal Now? Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 1 (5):482-489.
    In what follows, I suggest that, against most theories of time, there really is an actual present, a now, but that such an eternal moment cannot be found before or after time. It may even be semantically incoherent to say that such an eternal present exists since “it” is changeless and formless (presumably a dynamic chaos without location or duration) yet with creative potential. Such a field of near-infinite potential energy could have had no beginning and will have no end, (...)
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  16. Gregory M. Nixon (2010). Whitehead & the Elusive Present: Process Philosophy's Creative Core. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 1 (5):625-639.
    Time’s arrow is necessary for progress from a past that has already happened to a future that is only potential until creatively determined in the present. But time’s arrow is unnecessary in Einstein’s so-called block universe, so there is no creative unfolding in an actual present. How can there be an actual present when there is no universal moment of simultaneity? Events in various places will have different presents according to the position, velocity, and nature of the perceiver. Standing against (...)
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  17. Gregory Nixon (2009). Skrbina's *Mind That Abides: Panpsychism in the New Millennium*. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (9):116-121.
    Is the great god Pan reborn? For a while there, it seemed every intellectual movement began with the prefix ‘post’, implying non-totality, but now there are indications that ‘pan’ (all) is returning to provide another answer to one of the most basic of ontological questions: What is the relationship of mind to matter? In this important book with 17 different authors, panpsychism is given its due.
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  18.  55
    Gregory Nixon (2007). Jay's *Songs of Experience*. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (11):125-7.
    ‘Experience is the best teacher’ goes the cliché without ever making clear just want is meant by that slippery first term. ‘Experience is never remembered unaltered’ goes another. Is experience something to be undergone, like a journey, or is it perhaps the relational immediacy between organism and environment? What do we reference when we use the term experience? -/- Martin Jay, renowned intellectual historian from UC Berkeley, here examines these questions in a grand survey of the term’s use throughout the (...)
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  19. Gregory Nixon (2006). Mortal Knowledge, the Originary Event, and the Emergence of the Sacred. Anthropoetics 12 (1):24.
    The question of origins continues to captivate human thought and sentiment, despite the postmodern insistence that knowledge of origins is impossible since it must lie beyond the boundaries of the origin of knowledge. Knowledge cannot seek causes that precede its own existence, it is said. Still, theoretical narratives continue to arise accounting for such things as the origin of the universe, of our star and solar system, of Earth, of life on the planet, of the human species, of self-aware human (...)
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  20. Gregory Nixon (2004). Shanon's *The Antipodes of the Mind*. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (5/6).
    What happens when a worldly Israeli cognitive psychologist goes to the Amazon Basin where he ingests the famed psychotropic concoction Ayahuasca (the ‘vine of the dead’) again and again and again? Our intrepid philosophical psychologist is no longer a sprightly youth, maddened for adventure. He is instead an accomplished theoretician with widely published articles (several in this journal) and a noted book (Shanon, 1993) that speak the from the perspective of cognitive (or phenomenological, for Shanon) psychology against the reductive tendency (...)
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  21.  77
    Gregory Nixon (2000). Max Velmans' *Understanding Consciousness*. [REVIEW] Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (10):96-99.
    This is a fine book. In what has become a crowded field, it stands out as direct, deep, and daring. It should place Max Velmans amongst the stars in the field like Chalmers, Dennett, Searle, and Churchland who are most commonly referenced in consciousness studies books and articles. It is direct in that the de rigueur history and review of the body-mind problem is illuminating and concise. It is deep in that Velmans deconstructs the usual idea of an objective world (...)
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  22. Gregory M. Nixon (1999). A 'Hermeneutic Objection': Language and the Inner View. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (2-3):257-269.
    In the worlds of philosophy, linguistics, and communications theory, a view has developed which understands conscious experience as experience which is 'reflected' back upon itself through language. This indicates that the consciousness we experience is possible only because we have culturally invented language and subsequently evolved to accommodate it. This accords with the conclusions of Daniel Dennett (1991), but the 'hermeneutic objection' would go further and deny that the objective sciences themselves have escaped the hermeneutic circle. -/- The consciousness we (...)
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  23.  13
    Greg Nixon (1998). Terrence W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species. Journal of Consciousness Studies 5:746-747.
    Terrence Deacon has constructed a tome in which he unleashes his considerable learning in quest of several answers to the question, ‘What are we?’ He is uniquely qualified to take an approach which details the origin and development of, first, language, then the brain, and, lastly, their ‘co-evolution.’ Described on the jacket as ‘a world-renowned researcher in neuroscience and evolutionary anthropology,’ all of his background is called upon at various times to pull together the mass of data and supposition that (...)
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  24. Gregory Nixon (1997). A Fool’s Paradise? The Subtle Assault of the Hard Sciences of Consciousness Upon Experiential Education. Educational Change (1997):11-28.
    Advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience claim to have begun to undermine the assumptions of the arts and educational theory community by explaining consciousness through either a reduction to mathematical functionalism or an excrescence of brain biology. I suggest that the worldview behind such reductionism is opposed to the worldview assumed by many educational practitioners and theorists. I then go on to outline a few common positions taken in the burgeoning field of consciousness studies that suggest that—though many attributes of (...)
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  25. Gregory M. Nixon, Call for Papers: Theories of Consciousness and Death.
    CALL for PAPERS -/- Special Issue of the Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research (JCER) -/- "Theories of Consciousness and Death: Does Consciousness End, Continue, Awaken, or Transform When the Body Dies?" -/- I am asking for submissions that outline a particular theory of consciousness and explore its conclusions, implications or possibilities when body and brain physically die. Are there alternatives? This is of course asking for speculation soundly based within the theory you choose, but from here in life one (...)
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