Cognitive Science and Classical Buddhist Philosophy of Mind

Authored by: Richard K. Payne

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415492447
eBook ISBN: 9780203803516
Adobe ISBN: 9781136634178


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What we are actually looking at are three different, though overlapping, discourses: Western philosophy of mind, Buddhist philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. The question being asked here is: Does anything important exist in the intersection of these three discourses? The interactions between Western philosophy of mind and cognitive science have been dialectic, and both are structured against a shared intellectual background. At present, this shared grounding makes many of the questions, concerns, issues appear “natural,” but only because they necessarily follow from the grounding assumptions. In other words, because the underlying assumptions – the terms of the discourse and their implications – are shared, it is assumed that certain things are naturally problematic, and that there are limited ways of attempting to resolve them. The point is not that these assumptions are wrong and need to be replaced by better ones, but rather simply that they are assumptions, and that a different set would produce a different constellation of what appear to be “natural” problems in the philosophy of mind.

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