Publication 5670

Jones R. H. (2018) Limitations on the neuroscientific study of mystical experiences. Zygon 53(4): 992–1017. Fulltext at
Neuroscientific scanning of meditators is taken as providing data on mystical experiences. However, problems concerning how the brain and consciousness are related cast doubts on whether any understanding of the content of meditative experiences is gained through the study of the brain. Whether neuroscience can study the subjective aspects of meditative experiences in general is also discussed. So too, whether current neuroscience can establish that there are “pure consciousness events” in mysticism is open to question. The discussion points to limitations on neuroscience’s capability to add to our understanding of the phenomenological content of mystical experiences.

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