A Discourse on the Problem of Consciousness from the Viewpoint of Oriental Philosophy

Asian Philosophy 21 (3):303 - 321 (2011)
This paper discusses the possible inspirations that might be derived from the viewpoints of Eastern Philosophy in contemporary studies of consciousness. First of all, two notions of consciousness are introduced, one of which can be explained by science. The other however cannot, and as such is also called the ?Hard Problem?. Secondly, the special features shared by morality and the ?Hard Problem of Consciousness? are discussed. Thirdly, I discuss the conventional routes Oriental philosophy takes toward an exploration of the human mind, and consequently point out that Oriental philosophy views consciousness as the fundamental feature of moral beings. One of the reasons that human beings can pursue meaningful life is because of the necessary existence of conscious experience. It is our conscious experience that makes a life of value possible. Therefore, in Oriental philosophy matters of consciousness revolve around aspects of morality and spirituality, and the training of the abilities of consciousness is emphasized over knowledge. Finally, this paper concludes with a comparison of the different approaches Oriental philosophy and current Western academics take in their study of consciousness. Hopefully, one day consciousness can be fully explored from more diverse viewpoints to gain a more comprehensive understanding and so further the happiness of humanity
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2011.597928
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Peter Singer (1993). Practical Ethics. Cambridge University Press.

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