Professor Shaun Gallagher

What is enlightenment?
(And what’s in it for me?)

Abstract:
I start with Kant’s (1784) famous answer to the question: What is enlightenment? ‘Enlightenment (Äufklarung) is man's release from his self-incurred immaturity’. I consider what this means in regard to the self in the context of the Western European conception of the Enlightenment, with reference to Foucault’s essay by the same title, and to Habermas’ commentary on it. As is well known,

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Professor Gunnar Karlsson

Psychoanalysis and its relationship to spiritual experiences

Abstract:
From a psychoanalytic point of view it is well established that an early development of a sense of self is crucial to a person’s healthy development. At the same time the psychoanalytic process can to a large extent be described as a deconstruction of narcissistic and illusionary apprehensions of oneself. With this as a background I want to discuss the notion of self within a

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Professor Iain McGilchrist

The implications of hemisphere differences for the self

Abstract:
The idea that the self is an illusion is problematic and possibly incoherent. Moreover, that the self is multiform and changeable does not argue against its existence. However some of the target papers suggest that there are ‘self’ states that are sufficiently divergent for them to have incompatible properties – one refers to the analogy of light as both wave and particle. Many of these dualities

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Professor Matthew MacKenzie

(Re-) Constructing the Self

Abstract:
I will take up the complex dialectic between self and selflessness as raised in the target papers of this issue and in classical Buddhist thought. I’ll argue that the recognition that the self is constructed can lead, in the right theoretical and practical context, to (i) the deconstruction of fixed views of self, (ii) the decentering of self-experience within a larger horizon of awareness, and (iii)

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Simon Høffding

The Self and the First-person perspec-
tive: Similarities and Discrepancies in phenomenology and spiritual practice

Abstract:
The target papers all claim that the self is an illusory construct. This is in line with central tenants in phenomenology. Roberts and Adyashanti seem to make a stronger claim that even the first person perspective is illusory, which is in stark contradiction with phenomenology. Emphasizing the dimension of active practice of both phenomenology and spiritual contemplation, I examine the

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Wolfgang Fasching Post Doc

The Nonplurality of the I. On the Question of the Ultimate Subject of Experience

Abstract:
In his contribution, Almaas is keen to distinguish the individual streams of consciousness from pure awareness. Since the existence of the former is presumably quite uncontroversial in present-day philosophy, I wish to concentrate on the latter, in particular on Almaas’ claim that pure awareness is non-individual and ultimately “the only subject of all experiences of all streams”. In my contribution, I wish to

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Professor Johannes Lehtonen, MD

On the scenic nature of
primal consciousness

Abstract:
When consciousness is viewed in a spatially wide perspective, it does not lend itself to understanding through details. A wide picture of consciousness can be compared with a mental scenery that consists of numerous components, layers and a multiplicity of details, like a mosaic that forms an entity. The aim of this paper is to investigate how the scenic nature of the human mind and the unitary

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Professor Joel Krueger

Forms of self and selflessness

Abstract:
The target papers present different models of self and selflessness. Some portray the self as equivalent with consciousness; others view it as a narrative construct or as linked with various features of our embodiment. Yet all argue that, in some sense, the self can be lost or overcome (i.e., we can realize transient or enduring states of genuine selflessness). I consider this claim by (1) constructing a taxonomy of

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Professor Laurits Lauritsen

Deus Absconditus-the Hidden God apprehended as a field
of human experience

Abstract:
If by the term the Self we refer to the Cartesian cogito, and more specifically its necessary capacity of elementary reflexion upon itself, the continual procedure of reflexion is tracing the outline of a field of human experience, i.e. the conviction of my own being as something logically prior to all other kinds of convictions. The essential feature of this fundamental human experience is precisely its freedom, i.e.

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Professor Colwyn Trevarthen

The Infant Person:
An Actor In Relations

Abstract:
A newborn infant displays Self-Other-awareness, searching in its own imaginative space-time for useful sights and sounds, ready to engage impulses and emotions in intimacy with other persons. Soon rhythmic proto-conversations and games invent propositional narratives of aliveness with joyful ‘communicative musicality’. By monitoring this inborn personality, and its distress when betrayed, we

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Dr John McGraw

The Co-Essential Self

Abstract:
Mesoamerican cosmologies have developed ideas about self using change-in-time as the principal orienting framework. These approaches veer away from substance ontologies and conceive existence as a phenomenon of temporal organization. The chief consequence of this arrangement is the continuity between human beings-in-time and other living and non-living entities.

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Vasudevi Reddy and Nicole Rossmanith

Structure and openness in
development

Abstract:
Engaging with the world inevitably creates structure of some kind in self-development. Thus from early infancy on - with shared affective patterns and interpersonal routines, cultural norms, concepts and symbols and so on - various, increasingly complex forms of self, other and world emerge, which open up an increasing number of possibilities for new kinds and levels of engagement and for further

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Professor Galen Strawson

Spiritual Bypassing and
Narrative Bypassing

Abstract:
John Welwood tells us that we have to beware of ‘spiritual bypassing—using spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional "unfinished business," to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks, all in the name of enlightenment’. It’s arguable that there is an equal danger of ‘narrative bypassing’—using the idea of one’s life as a narrative to ‘sidestep

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