Meditation and the Scope of Mental Action

Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):52-71 (2019)
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Abstract

While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this paper, we argue that meditation provides a useful model for understanding a wider range of types of mental action than heretofore recognized. Conclusions yielded by two distinct bodies of current psychological research on meditation and cognition, and meditation and introspection, buttress meditation’s suitability for this role.

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Michael Brent
Columbia University (PhD)

References found in this work

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.

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