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  1. The Phenomenology of “Pure” Consciousness as Reported by an Experienced Meditator of the Tibetan Buddhist Karma Kagyu Tradition. Analysis of Interview Content Concerning Different Meditative States.Cyril Costines, Tilmann Lhündrup Borghardt & Marc Wittmann - 2021 - Philosophies 6 (2):50.
    A philosopher and a cognitive neuroscientist conversed with Buddhist lama Tilmann Lhündrup Borghardt (TLB) about the unresolved phenomenological concerns and logical questions surrounding “pure” consciousness or minimal phenomenal experience (MPE), a quasi-contentless, non-dual state whose phenomenology of “emptiness” is often described in terms of the phenomenal quality of luminosity that experienced meditators have reported occurs in deep meditative states. Here, we present the excerpts of the conversation that relate to the question of how it is possible to first have and (...)
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  • Seeing the Void: Experiencing Emptiness and Awareness with the Headless Way Technique.Brentyn J. Ramm, Anna-Lena Lumma, Terje Sparby & Ulrich Weger - 2024 - Mindfulness.
    Objectives Practitioners in contemplative traditions commonly report experiencing an awareness that is distinct from sensory objects, thoughts, and emotions (“awareness itself”). They also report experiences of a void or underlying silence that is closely associated with this awareness. Subjects who carry out the Headless Way exercises frequently report an experience of emptiness or void at the same time as other contents (void-like experiences). The goals of this study were to (1) assess the reliability of these methods in eliciting the recognition (...)
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  • How to Know That You’re Not a Zombie.Brentyn J. Ramm - 2024 - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    I am aware of the tree and its leaves, but am I aware of my awareness of these things? When I try to introspect my awareness, I just find myself attending to objects and their properties. This observation is known as the ‘transparency of experience’. On the other hand, I seem to directly know that I am aware. Given the first observation, it is not clear how I know that I am aware. Fred Dretske thought that the problem was so (...)
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  • Evidence synthesis indicates contentless experiences in meditation are neither truly contentless nor identical.Toby J. Woods, Jennifer M. Windt & Olivia Carter - 2024 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 23 (2):253-304.
    Contentless experience involves an absence of mental content such as thought, perception, and mental imagery. In academic work it has been classically treated as including states like those aimed for in Shamatha, Transcendental, and Stillness Meditation. We have used evidence synthesis to select and review 135 expert texts from within the three traditions. In this paper we identify the features of contentless experience referred to in the expert texts and determine whether the experiences are the same or different across the (...)
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  • Selfless Memories.Raphaël Millière & Albert Newen - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (3):897-918.
    Many authors claim that being conscious constitutively involves being self-conscious, or conscious of oneself. This claim appears to be threatened by reports of ‘selfless’ episodes, or conscious episodes lacking self-consciousness, recently described in a number of pathological and nonpathological conditions. However, the credibility of these reports has in turn been challenged on the following grounds: remembering and reporting a past conscious episode as an episode that one went through is only possible if one was conscious of oneself while undergoing it. (...)
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  • Selfless Memories.Raphaël Millière & Albert Newen - 2022 - Erkenntnis (3):0-22.
    Many authors claim that being conscious constitutively involves being self-conscious, or conscious of oneself. This claim appears to be threatened by reports of `selfless' episodes, or conscious episodes lacking self-consciousness, recently described in a number of pathological and nonpathological conditions. However, the credibility of these reports has in turn been challenged on the following grounds: remembering and reporting a past conscious episode as an episode that one went through is only possible if one was conscious of oneself while undergoing it. (...)
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  • Is Lucid Dreamless Sleep Really Lucid?Adriana Alcaraz-Sánchez - 2024 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 15 (1):1-27.
    Recently, the construct ‘lucid dreamless sleep’ has been proposed to explain the state of ‘clear light’ described by Tibetan Buddhist traditions, a special state of consciousness during deep sleep in which we’re told to be able to recognise the nature or essence of our mind (Padmasambhava & Gyatrul 2008; Ponlop 2006; Wangyal 1998). To explain the sort of awareness experienced during this state, some authors have appealed to the sort of lucidity acquired during lucid dreaming and suggested a link between (...)
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  • The path to contentless experience in meditation: An evidence synthesis based on expert texts.Toby J. Woods, Jennifer M. Windt & Olivia Carter - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-38.
    In contentless experience there is an absence of mental content such as thought, perception, and mental imagery. The path to contentless experience in meditation can be taken to comprise the meditation technique, and the experiences on the way to the contentless “goal-state/s”. Shamatha, Transcendental, and Stillness Meditation are each said to access contentless experience, but the path to that experience in each practice is not yet well understood from a scientific perspective. We have employed evidence synthesis to select and review (...)
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  • Silence in Shamatha, Transcendental, and Stillness Meditation: An Evidence Synthesis Based on Expert Texts.Toby J. Woods, Jennifer M. Windt & Olivia Carter - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Shamatha, Transcendental, and Stillness Meditation are said to aim for “contentless” experiences, where mental content such as thoughts, perceptions, and mental images is absent. Silence is understood to be a central feature of those experiences. The main source of information about the experiences is texts by experts from within the three traditions. Previous research has tended not to use an explicit scientific method for selecting and reviewing expert texts on meditation. We have identified evidence synthesis as a robust and transparent (...)
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  • “I” and “Me”: The Self in the Context of Consciousness.Mateusz Woźniak - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9:350047.
    In 1890 William James distinguished two understandings of the self, the self as “Me” and the self as “I”. This distinction has recently regained popularity in cognitive science, especially in the context of experimental studies on the underpinnings of the phenomenal self. The goal of this paper is to take a step back from cognitive science and attempt to precisely distinguish between “Me” and “I” in the context of consciousness. This distinction was originally based on the idea that the former (...)
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  • Consciousness in sleep: How findings from sleep and dream research challenge our understanding of sleep, waking, and consciousness.Jennifer M. Windt - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (4):e12661.
    Sleep is phenomenologically rich, teeming with different kinds of conscious thought and experience. Dreaming is the most prominent example, but there is more to conscious experience in sleep than dreaming. Especially in non‐rapid eye movement sleep, conscious experience, sometimes dreamful, sometimes dreamless, also alternates with a loss of consciousness. Yet while dreaming has become established as a topic for interdisciplinary consciousness science and empirically informed philosophy of mind, the same is not true of other kinds of sleep‐related experience, nor is (...)
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  • Pre-Reflective Self-Consciousness & Projective Geometry.Kenneth Williford, Daniel Bennequin & David Rudrauf - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):365-396.
    We argue that the projective geometrical component of the Projective Consciousness Model can account for key aspects of pre-reflective self-consciousness and can relate PRSC intelligibly to another signal feature of subjectivity: perspectival character or point of view. We illustrate how the projective geometrical versions of the concepts of duality, reciprocity, polarity, closedness, closure, and unboundedness answer to salient aspects of the phenomenology of PRSC. We thus show that the same mathematics that accounts for the statics and dynamics of perspectival character (...)
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  • Consciousness Without Content: A Look at Evidence and Prospects.Narayanan Srinivasan - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
  • Why Build a Robot With Artificial Consciousness? How to Begin? A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Design and Implementation of a Synthetic Model of Consciousness.David Harris Smith & Guido Schillaci - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    Creativity is intrinsic to Humanities and STEM disciplines. In the activities of artists and engineers, for example, an attempt is made to bring something new into the world through counterfactual thinking. However, creativity in these disciplines is distinguished by differences in motivations and constraints. For example, engineers typically direct their creativity toward building solutions to practical problems, whereas the outcomes of artistic creativity, which are largely useless to practical purposes, aspire to enrich the world aesthetically and conceptually. In this essay, (...)
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  • Reasoning about conscious experience with axiomatic and graphical mathematics.Camilo Miguel Signorelli, Quanlong Wang & Bob Coecke - 2021 - Consciousness and Cognition 95:103168.
  • Stable Consciousness? The “Hard Problem” Historically Reconstructed and in Perspective of Neurophenomenological Research on Meditation.Stephan Schleim - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    Finding a scientific, third-person explanation of subjective experience or phenomenal content is commonly called the “hard problem” of consciousness. There has recently been a surge in neuropsychological research on meditation in general and long-term meditators in particular. These experimental subjects are allegedly capable of generating a stable state of consciousness over a prolonged period of time, which makes experimentation with them an interesting paradigm for consciousness research. This perspective article starts out with a historical reconstruction of the “hard problem,” tracing (...)
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  • Dynamics of the Sphere Model of Consciousness: Silence, Space, and Self.Andrea Pintimalli, Tania Di Giuseppe, Grazia Serantoni, Joseph Glicksohn & Tal D. Ben-Soussan - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11:548813.
    The Sphere Model of Consciousness (SMC) delineates a sphere-shaped matrix that aims to describe the phenomenology of experience using geometric coordinates. According to SMC, an experience of overcoming of the habitual self and the conditioning of memories could be placed at the center of the matrix, which can be then called the Place of Pre-Existence (PPE). The PPE is causally associated with self-determination. In this context, we suggest that silence could be considered as an intentional state enabling self-perception to be (...)
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  • The Soul: A Psychological Enquiry.Frederic Peters - 2023 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 23 (5):477-521.
    Soul beliefs are universal among religious folk but vary tremendously from culture to culture, In fact, in tribal societies without formal religious dogmas, soul beliefs can vary from individual to individual. A review of notions regarding the soul (or souls) amongst tribal and post-tribal societies does evidence, nonetheless, a recurring pattern of focus on the soul envisaged as the vital life energy of the body and/or as encapsulating one of more mental faculties. Not surprisingly, theories as to the psychological basis (...)
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  • Reflections on Inner and Outer Silence and Consciousness Without Contents According to the Sphere Model of Consciousness.Patrizio Paoletti & Tal Dotan Ben-Soussan - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • Playing Brains: The Ethical Challenges Posed by Silicon Sentience and Hybrid Intelligence in DishBrain.Stephen R. Milford, David Shaw & Georg Starke - 2023 - Science and Engineering Ethics 29 (6):1-17.
    The convergence of human and artificial intelligence is currently receiving considerable scholarly attention. Much debate about the resulting _Hybrid Minds_ focuses on the integration of artificial intelligence into the human brain through intelligent brain-computer interfaces as they enter clinical use. In this contribution we discuss a complementary development: the integration of a functional in vitro network of human neurons into an _in silico_ computing environment. To do so, we draw on a recent experiment reporting the creation of silico-biological intelligence as (...)
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  • Meta-awareness, mind wandering and negative mood in the context of the continuity hypothesis of dreaming.Reza Maleeh & Shaghayegh Konjedi - 2024 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 23 (1):105-131.
    In the waking state, in the absence of meta-awareness, mind wandering with specific contents can lead to negative mood. Such negative mood can be incorporated into dreaming according to the continuity hypothesis of dreaming. In this paper we argue that in the presence of what we call ‘sustained phenomenal meta-awareness’, negative mood would not follow mind wandering in waking. Sustained phenomenal meta-awareness has a non-sensory, non-affective phenomenal character. It is essentially intransitive, prereflectively self-aware, non-propositional, non-conceptual and devoid of subject-object structure. (...)
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  • Editorial: Self-Consciousness Explained—Mapping the Field.Stefan Lang & Klaus Viertbauer - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):257-276.
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  • Editorial: Self-Consciousness Explained—Mapping the Field.Stefan Lang & Klaus Viertbauer - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):257-276.
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  • A Review on Research and Evaluation Methods for Investigating Self-Transcendence.Alexandra Kitson, Alice Chirico, Andrea Gaggioli & Bernhard E. Riecke - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Self-transcendence has been characterized as a decrease in self-saliency (ego disillusionment) and increased connection, and has been growing in research interest in the past decade. Several measures have been developed and published with some degree of psychometric validity and reliability. However, to date, there has been no review systematically describing, contrasting, and evaluating the different methodological approaches toward measuring self-transcendence including questionnaires, neurological and physiological measures, and qualitative methods. To address this gap, we conducted a review to describe existing methods (...)
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  • Reducing and deducing the structures of consciousness through meditation.Sucharit Katyal - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    According to many first-person accounts, consciousness comprises a subject-object structure involving a mental action or attitude starting from the “subjective pole” upon an object of experience. In recent years, many paradigms have been developed to manipulate and empirically investigate the object of consciousness. However, well-controlled investigation of subjective aspects of consciousness has been more challenging. One way, subjective aspects of consciousness are proposed to be studied is using meditation states that alter its subject-object structure. Most work to study consciousness in (...)
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  • Nondual Awareness and Minimal Phenomenal Experience.Zoran Josipovic & Vladimir Miskovic - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
  • How Minimal Can Consciousness Be?Louis N. Irwin - 2023 - Biosemiotics 16 (1):21-26.
    This commentary on the argument by Jablonka & Ginsburg ( 2022 ) that unlimited associative learning (UAL) provides an evolutionary marker for the transition to consciousness raises the question, “Transition to what?” The proposal that a level of consciousness required for UAL would embody eight specific criteria is credible, but can a limited degree of sentience still exist in animals that lack some of the criteria? The article makes a compelling case that UAL could serve as a marker for the (...)
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  • Cotard syndrome, self-awareness, and I-concepts.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (1):1-20.
    Various psychopathologies of self-awareness, such as somatoparaphrenia and thought insertion in schizophrenia, might seem to threaten the viability of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness since it requires a HOT about one’s own mental state to accompany every conscious state. The HOT theory of consciousness says that what makes a mental state a conscious mental state is that there is a HOT to the effect that “I am in mental state M.” I have argued in previous work that a (...)
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  • Defining Transformative Experiences: A Conceptual Analysis.Alice Chirico, Marta Pizzolante, Alexandra Kitson, Elena Gianotti, Bernhard E. Riecke & Andrea Gaggioli - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13:790300.
    The concept of transformative experience (TE) has been widely explored by several disciplines from philosophy to neurobiology, and in different domains, from the spiritual to the educational one. This attitude has engendered heterogeneous models to explain this phenomenon. However, a consistent and clear understanding of this construct remains elusive. The aim of this work is to provide an initial comprehensive interdisciplinary, cross-domain, up-to-date, and integrated overview on the concept of TEs. Firstly, all the models and theories on TEs were reviewed (...)
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  • Attentional Structuring, Subjectivity, and the Ubiquity of Reflexive Inner Awareness.Amit Chaturvedi - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Some have argued that a subject has an inner awareness of its conscious mental states by virtue of the non-introspective, reflexive awareness that any conscious state has of itself. But, what exactly is it like to have a ubiquitous and reflexive inner awareness of one’s conscious states, as distinct from one’s outer awareness of the apparent world? This essay derives a model of ubiquitous inner awareness (UIA) from Sebastian Watzl’s recent theory of attention as the activity of structuring consciousness into (...)
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  • The Pauli–Jung Conjecture and Its Relatives: A Formally Augmented Outline.Harald Atmanspacher - 2020 - Open Philosophy 3 (1):527-549.
    The dual-aspect monist conjecture launched by Pauli and Jung in the mid-20th century will be couched in somewhat formal terms to characterize it more concisely than by verbal description alone. After some background material situating the Pauli–Jung conjecture among other conceptual approaches to the mind–matter problem, the main body of this paper outlines its general framework of a basic psychophysically neutral reality with its derivative mental and physical aspects and the nature of the correlations that connect these aspects. Some related (...)
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  • Grief as self-model updating.J. M. Araya - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-20.
    Philosophical discussion tends to converge on the view that narratives are at the center of the emotion of grief. In this article, I expand on this kind of view. On the one hand, I argue that key strands of phenomenological and neuroscientific studies suggest that grief consists in a complex emotional process of disconfirmation-and-updating of the narrative self-model. By heuristically drawing on an analogy between binocular rivalry and grief, I show that certain salient aspects of the phenomenology of grief, such (...)
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  • Awareness in the void: a micro-phenomenological exploration of conscious dreamless sleep.Adriana Alcaraz-Sanchez - 2023 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 22 (4):867-905.
    This paper presents a pilot study that explores instances of objectless awareness during sleep: conscious experiences had during sleep that prima facie lack an object of awareness. This state of objectless awareness during sleep has been widely described by Indian contemplative traditions and has been characterised as a state of consciousness-as-such; while in it, there is nothing to be aware of, one is _merely_ conscious (cf. Evans-Wentz, 1960 ; Fremantle, 2001 ; Ponlop, 2006 ). While this phenomenon has received different (...)
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  • Awareness in the void: a micro-phenomenological exploration of dreamless sleep.Adriana Alcaraz - 2021 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.
    This paper presents a pilot study that explores instances of objectless awareness during sleep: conscious experiences had during sleep that prima facie lack an object of awareness. This state of objectless awareness during sleep has been widely described by Indian contemplative traditions and has been characterised as a state of consciousness-as-such; while in it, there is nothing to be aware of, one is merely conscious (cf. Evans-Wentz, 1960; Fremantle, 2001; Ponlop, 2006). While this phenomenon has received diferent names in the (...)
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  • Is lucid dreamless sleep really lucid?Adriana Alcaraz - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
    Recently, the construct ‘lucid dreamless sleep’ has been proposed to explain the state of ‘clear light’ described by Tibetan Buddhist traditions, a special state of consciousness during deep sleep in which we’re told to be able to recognise the nature or essence of our mind (Padmasambhava & Gyatrul, 2008; Ponlop, 2006; Wangyal, 1998). To explain the sort of awareness experienced during this state, some authors have appealed to the sort of lucidity acquired during lucid dreaming and suggested a link between (...)
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  • The Technology of Awakening: Experiments in Zen Phenomenology.Brentyn Ramm - 2021 - Religions 12 (3):192.
    In this paper, I investigate the phenomenology of awakening in Chinese Zen Buddhism. In this tradition, to awaken is to ‘see your true nature’. In particular, the two aspects of awakening are: (1) seeing that the nature of one’s self or mind is empty or void and (2) an erasing of the usual (though merely apparent) boundary between subject and object. In the early Zen tradition, there are many references to awakening as chopping off your head, not having eyes, nose (...)
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  • Functions of consciousness: conceptual clarification.Takuya Niikawa, Katsunori Miyahara, Hiro Taiyo Hamada & Satoshi Nishida - 2022 - Neuroscience of Consciousness 2022 (1).
    There are many theories of the functions of consciousness. How these theories relate to each other, how we should assess them, and whether any integration of them is possible are all issues that remain unclear. To contribute to a solution, this paper offers a conceptual framework to clarify the theories of the functions of consciousness. This framework consists of three dimensions: (i) target, (ii) explanatory order, and (iii) necessity/sufficiency. The first dimension, target, clarifies each theory in terms of the kind (...)
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