Publication 4036

Kordeš U. & Markič O. (2016) Parallels between mindfulness and first-person research into consciousness. Asian Studies 4(2): 153–168. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4036
The article highlights some of the parallels encountered in the areas of mindfulness and first-person scientific approaches to research into consciousness. It thus considers the possibilities of using mindfulness as a scientific method in the area of cognitive science. We are well aware that both first-person research approaches in cognitive science and mindfulness as a type of Buddhist practice are intertwined with certain conceptual frameworks. This calls for a careful consideration of their individual characteristics, which may gain completely different meanings outside of their primary contexts. Since the concept of mindfulness has been a part of Western thinking for some time now, especially in the area of therapy, we believe it is necessary for a critical reflection on the possibilities of both of these areas to inspire each other. We touch upon some of the important epistemological and methodological questions, and point out some of the problems common to both empirical first-person research and Buddhist methods of contemplation of experience. More specifically, this work examines the problem of limited scope of insight, the subject-object split and excavation fallacy, the problem of researching everyday experience, and the issue of horizon. We also consider the question of research intention in both science and Buddhism. The conclusion gives some suggestions as to how these two areas might mutually benefit one another. We also point out the ethical aspects that Buddhism might contribute to scientific research, and the open-endedness that science could contribute to Buddhism and other spiritual practices.

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