Mysticism and scientific naturalism

Sophia 43 (1):83-99 (2004)
How, from a scientific standpoint, should we understand mystical experiences? On the one hand such experiences are obviously capable of being studied scientifically. Nevertheless there is a sense in which such experiences often seem strongly opposed to our ordinary scientific views of reality, for they often seem to point to a domain quite outside that examined by naturalistic empirical science. Indeed, this is often precisely what seems to be ‘mystical’ about them. The present essay takes a hard look at specific question of the possible significance of these experiences for scientific naturalism.
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