Zygon 49 (2):458-475 (2014)

For centuries, mystically inclined practitioners from various religious traditions have articulated anomalous and mystical experiences. One common aspect of these experiences is the feeling of the loss of the sense of self, referred to as “self-loss.” The occurrence of “self-loss” can be understood as the feeling of losing the subject/object distinction in one's phenomenal experience. In this article, the author attempts to incorporate these anomalous experiences into modern understandings of the mind and “self” from philosophy and psychology. Accounts of self-loss from religious literature along with similar accounts from recent nonreligious writers, suggest that self-loss accounts are potentially legitimate descriptions and not simply the result of religious apologetics. Specifically, I examine self-loss through the lens of philosopher Daniel Dennett's theory of “self as the center of narrative gravity.” I argue that Dennett's understanding of the self, if correct, allows for the relegitimation of self-loss experiences rooted in current views from the psychological literature, rather than rooted in metaphysical religious claims
Keywords self  subjectivity  mysticism  Daniel Dennett  personhood  psychology of religion
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DOI 10.1111/zygo.12090
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom Evolves.Daniel Dennett - 2003 - Viking Press.
6 The Self As.Daniel C. Dennett - 1992 - In Frank S. Kessel, P. M. Cole & D. L. Johnson (eds.), Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 6--103.

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