Meditation and self-control

Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1779-1798 (2016)
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Abstract

This paper seeks to analyse an under-discussed kind of self-control, namely the control of thoughts and sensations. I distinguish first-order control from second-order control and argue that their central forms are intentional concentration and intentional mindfulness respectively. These correspond to two forms of meditation, concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation, which have been regarded as central both in the traditions in which the practices arose and in the scientific literature on meditation. I analyse them in terms of their characteristic intentions, distinguish them from concentration and mindfulness in general, and examine the relations between them. Concentration involves keeping the mind focused on a single object, while mindfulness requires noticing whatever mental states occupy the focus of one’s consciousness. In the course of the investigation I examine the role of phenomenology and volition in the activity of meditating, and how they change as meditative capacities develop.

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Noa Latham
University of Calgary

References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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