Neuroscientific scanning of meditators is taken as providing data on mystical experiences. However, problems concerning how the brain and consciousness are related cast doubts on whether any understanding of the content of meditative experiences is gained through the study of the brain. Whether neuroscience can study the subjective aspects of meditative experiences in general is also discussed. So too, whether current neuroscience can establish that there are “pure consciousness events” in mysticism is open to question. The discussion points to limitations (...) on neuroscience's capability to add to our understanding of the phenomenological content of mystical experiences. (shrink)
Scientific interest in drug-induced mystical experiences reemerged in the 1990s. This warrants reexamining the philosophical issues surrounding such studies: Do psychedelic drugs cause mystical experiences? Are drug-induced experiences the same in nature as other mystical experiences? Does the fact that mystical experiences can be induced by drugs invalidate or validate mystical cognitive claims? Those questions will be examined here. An overview of the scientific examination of drug-induced mystical experiences is included, as is a brief overview of the history of the (...) use of psychedelic drugs in religion. (shrink)
Reductionism’s approach brings together many of the most interesting questions today in philosophy and in science . It also presents a brief history of how reductionism has developed in Western philosophy and religion, with reference to Indian philosophy on certain issues.
Mysticism presents a challenge to anyone who is interested in fundamental questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, and how we should live. In this book the author examines questions posed by mysticism. He clarifies the nature of the claims advanced by Western and Asian mystics, and explores the beliefs and values of classical mystical ways of life for their interconnections and reasonableness. Jones discusses whether all mystical experiences and all mystical claims of knowledge are similar, and examines the relation (...) of concepts and experiences in mystics' claims. Also presented are standards for evaluating competing mystical claims, and mystics' problems with language. Whether mystics' arguments are rational is investigated along with the relation of moral and non-moral values and the role of beliefs and values in enlightened mystics' ways of life. Mysticism's relation to the enterprises of science, theology, psychology and ethics is also examined. (shrink)
A comprehensive exploration of the philosophical issues raised by mysticism. This work is a comprehensive study of the philosophical issues raised by mysticism. Mystics claim to experience reality in a way not available in normal life, a claim which makes this phenomenon interesting from a philosophical perspective. Richard H. Joness inquiry focuses on the skeleton of beliefs and values of mysticism: knowledge claims made about the nature of reality and of human beings; value claims about what is significant and what (...) is ethical; and mystical goals and ways of life. Jones engages language, epistemology, metaphysics, science, and the philosophy of mind. Methodological issues in the study of mysticism are also addressed. Examples of mystical experience are drawn chiefly from Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, but also from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Daoism. This is a significant extension of the seminal work by Walter Stace, Mysticism and Philosophy. That work has stimulated much literature, all of which Jones manages to review here. He critically extends Staces universal core and embeds it in a sophisticated discussion of the extent, range, and metaphysical implications of mysticism. Ralph W. Hood, Jr., coauthor of The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach. (shrink)
It has become popular to portray the Buddhist Nāgārjuna as an ontological nihilist, i.e., that he denies the reality of entities and does not postulate any further reality. A reading of his works does show that he rejects the self-existent reality of entities, but it also shows that he accepts a "that-ness" to phenomenal reality that survives the denial of any distinct, self-contained entities. Thus, he is not a nihilist concerning what is real in the final analysis of things. How (...) Nāgārjuna’s positions impact contemporary discussions of ontological nihilism and deflationism in Western philosophy is also discussed. (shrink)
Nāgārjuna’s doctrine of emptiness, his ideas on “two truths” and language, and his general method of arguing are presented clearly by him and can be stated without paradox. That the dialetheists today can restate his beliefs in paradoxical ways does not mean that Nāgārjuna argued that way; in fact, their restatements misrepresent and undercut his arguments.
The purpose of this article is to expose a basic flaw at the root of perennialism as a method for studying mysticism—its distinction between ‘exoteric’ and ‘esoteric’ components of mysticism and religion. Rather than being distinct, the specific ‘exoteric’ doctrines of a given mystic’s tradition penetrate the mystics’ knowledge-claims. Thus, the ‘esoteric’ dimension in a mystical tradition is permeated by that mystical tradition’s ‘exoteric’ doctrines, not by the transcultural and ahistorical perennial spine that perennialists postulate. Contrary to what the perennialists (...) suggest, there is no one underlying esoteric set of beliefs embedded in all traditional religions that all mystics share. Rather, in the different religious traditions of the world, there are genuinely different mysticisms with different beliefs, practices, values, and goals. Thus, the perennialist approach distorts the history of mysticism. It is better seen as a theology of religions than as an alleged discernment of timeless truths presented throughout the history of mysticism. (shrink)
This book is a philosophical examination of the mysteries surrounding the foundations of science, philosophy, and religion. Much of Western philosophy and science is discussed in order to see our epistemological and metaphysical situation. The love/hate relation philosophers have with mystery is explored and the importance of mystery is reaffirmed.
In this book, Jones methodically challenges both the claim that theological doctrines are the source of modern science and the idea that theology has the right to control the content of all scientific theories.
For the Glory of God provides an illuminating history of the role of Christian ideas in the physical and biological sciences from the Middle Ages to today. Jones shows that a “control” model explains the complex history of religion and science, while the popular “war” and “harmony” models do not.
Philosophy of mystery -- Do we create our own mysteries? -- Do we know anything at all? -- What is reality? -- Why is there something rather than nothing? -- Why is nature ordered? -- Reductionism and emergence -- Does science dispel mystery? -- What of current mysteries in physics and cosmology? -- What of current mysteries in biology? -- What am i? -- What is consciousness? -- Do we have free will? -- Does god exist? -- Is there an (...) objective meaning to our lives? -- The mystery of the ordinary. (shrink)