Ontology of Consciousness

Percipient Action

The "hard problem" of today's consciousness studies is subjective experience: understanding why some brain processing is accompanied by an experienced inner life. Recent scientific advances offer insights for understanding the physiological and chemical phenomenology of consciousness. But by leaving aside the internal experiential nature of consciousness in favor of mapping neural activity, such science leaves many questions unanswered. In Ontology of Consciousness, scholars from a range of disciplines—from neurophysiology to parapsychology, from mathematics to anthropology and indigenous non-Western modes of thought—go beyond these limits of current neuroscience research to explore insights offered by other intellectual approaches to consciousness. These scholars focus their attention on such philosophical approaches to consciousness as Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, North American Indian insights, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilization, and the Byzantine Empire. Some draw on artifacts and ethnographic data to make their point. Others translate cultural concepts of consciousness into modern scientific language using models and mathematical mappings. Many consider individual experiences of sentience and existence, as seen in African communalism, Hindi psychology, Zen Buddhism, Indian vibhuti phenomena, existentialism, philosophical realism, and modern psychiatry. Some reveal current views and conundrums in neurobiology to comprehend sentient intellection.

Karim Akerma, Matthijs Cornelissen, Antoine Courban, Mario Crocco, Christian de Quincey, Thomas B. Fowler, Erlendur Haraldsson, David. J. Hufford, Pavel B. Ivanov, Heinz Kimmerle, Stanley Krippner, Armand J. Labbé, James Maffie, Hubert Markl, Graham Parkes, Michael Polemis, E Richard Sorenson, Mircea Steriade, Thomas Szasz, Mariela Szirko, Robert A.F. Thurman, Edith L.B. Turner, Julia Watkin, Helmut Wautischer

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. Figures and Tables
  3. Foreword
  4. Preface
  5. Introduction
  6. I. Expanding the Ontological Matrix
  7. 1. The Emptying of Ontology: The Tibetan Tantric View

    E Richard Sorenson

  8. 2. The Soul and Communication between Souls

    Edith L. B. Turner

  9. 3. Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought in the Era of the Conquest

    James Maffie

  10. 4. Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul in Cross- Cultural Perspective

    Armand J. Labbe

  11. 5. Why One Is Not Another: The Brain-Mind Problem in Byzantine Culture

    Antoine Courban

  12. 6. Soul and Paideia: On the Philosophical Value of a Dialectical Relation

    Michael Polemis

  13. II. Localizing Subjective Action
  14. 7. Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind

    Hubert Markl

  15. 8. Consciousness Cannot Be Explained in Terms of Specific Neuronal Types and Circumscribed Neuronal Networks

    Mircea Steriade

  16. 9. Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies

    Pavel B. Ivanov

  17. 10. The Priority of Local Observation and Local Interpretation in Evaluating the ``Spirit Hypothesis''

    David J. Hufford

  18. 11. Effects of Relativistic Motions in the Brain and Their Physiological Relevance

    Mariela Szirko

  19. 12. A Palindrome: Conscious Living Creatures as Instruments of Nature; Nature as an Instrument of Conscious Living Creatures

    Mario Crocco

  20. III. Experience of Existence
  21. 13. The Evolution of Consciousness in Sri Aurobindo's Cosmopsychology

    Matthijs Cornelissen

  22. 14. An Existentialist Understanding of Consciousness

    Julia Watkin

  23. 15. Toward an Ontology of Consciousness with Nicolai Hartmann and Hans Jonas

    Karim Akerma

  24. 16. Thinking Like a Stone: Learning from the Zen Rock Garden

    Graham Parkes

  25. 17. The Concept of Person in African Thought: A Dialogue between African and Western Philosophies

    Heinz Kimmerle

  26. 18. Of Indian God-Men and Miracle-Makers: The Case of Sathya Sai Baba

    Erlendur Haraldsson

  27. 19. Sentient Intelligence: Consciousness and Knowing in the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri

    Thomas B. Fowler

  28. 20. Ontology of Consciousness: Reflections on Human Nature

    Thomas Szasz

  29. Epilogue

    Christian de Quincey

  30. Contributors
  31. Index