Despite the recent ferocious public debate about belief, the concept most central to the discussion "God" frequently remains vaguely and obscurely described. Are those engaged in these arguments even talking about the same thing? In a wide-ranging response to this confusion, esteemed scholar David Bentley Hart pursues a clarification of how the word "God" functions in the world's great theistic faiths. Ranging broadly across Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Vedantic and Bhaktic Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Hart explores how these great intellectual traditions treat humanity's knowledge of the divine mysteries. Constructing his argument around three principal metaphysical "moments"--Being, consciousness, and bliss- the author demonstrates an essential continuity between our fundamental experience of reality and the ultimate reality to which that experience inevitably points.
Being, Consciousness, Bliss
Author: David Bentley Hart
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation? In this startling and lavishly illustrated book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about these and other abiding mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by brilliance and simplicity. According to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history. The authors explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. They conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a “theory of everything”: the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, which, if confirmed, would represent the ultimate triumph of human reason.
Author: Stephen Hawking,Leonard Mlodinow
Category: Electronic journals
It has long been one of the most fundamental problems of philosophy, and it is now, John Searle writes, "the most important problem in the biological sciences": What is consciousness? Is my inner awareness of myself something separate from my body? In what began as a series of essays in The New York Review of Books, John Searle evaluates the positions on consciousness of such well-known scientists and philosophers as Francis Crick, Gerald Edelman, Roger Penrose, Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers, and Israel Rosenfield. He challenges claims that the mind works like a computer, and that brain functions can be reproduced by computer programs. With a sharp eye for confusion and contradiction, he points out which avenues of current research are most likely to come up with a biological examination of how conscious states are caused by the brain. Only when we understand how the brain works will we solve the mystery of consciousness, and only then will we begin to understand issues ranging from artificial intelligence to our very nature as human beings.
Author: John R. Searle,Daniel Clement Dennett,David John Chalmers
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Author: Wm. T. Harris,Edited By.
As a cardiologist, Pim van Lommel was struck by the number of his patients who claimed to have near-death experiences as a result of their heart attacks. As a scientist, this was difficult for him to accept: Wouldn't it be scientifically irresponsible of him to ignore the evidence of these stories? Faced with this dilemma, van Lommel decided to design a research study to investigate the phenomenon under the controlled environment of a cluster of hospitals with a medically trained staff. For more than twenty years van Lommel systematically studied such near-death experiences in a wide variety of hospital patients who survived a cardiac arrest. In 2001, he and his fellow researchers published his study on near-death experiences in the renowned medical journal The Lancet. The article caused an international sensation as it was the first scientifically rigorous study of this phenomenon. Now available for the first time in English, van Lommel offers an in-depth presentation of his results and theories in this book that has already sold over 125,000 copies in Europe. Van Lommel provides scientific evidence that the near-death phenomenon is an authentic experience that cannot be attributed to imagination, psychosis, or oxygen deprivation. He further reveals that after such a profound experience, most patients' personalities undergo a permanent change. In van Lommel's opinion, the current views on the relationship between the brain and consciousness held by most physicians, philosophers, and psychologists are too narrow for a proper understanding of the phenomenon. In Consciousness Beyond Life, van Lommel shows that our consciousness does not always coincide with brain functions and that, remarkably and significantly, consciousness can even be experienced separate from the body.
The Science of the Near-Death Experience
Author: Pim van Lommel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
'It is some years now since I realized how many false opinions I had accepted as true from childhood onwards...I saw that at some stage in my life the whole structure would have to be utterly demolished' In Descartes's Meditations, one of the key texts of Western philosophy, the thinker rejects all his former beliefs in the quest for new certainties. Discovering his own existence as a thinking entity in the very exercise of doubt, he goes on to prove the existence of God, who guarantees his clear and distinct ideas as a means of access to the truth. He develops new conceptions of body and mind, capable of serving as foundations for the new science of nature. Subsequent philosophy has grappled with Descartes's legacy, questioning many of its conclusions and even his basic approach, but his arguments set the agenda for many of the greatest philosophical thinkers, and their fascination endures. This new translation includes the Third and Fourth Objections and Replies in full, and a selection from the rest of these exchanges with Descartes's contemporaries that helped to expound his philosophy. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
with Selections from the Objections and Replies
Author: René Descartes
Publisher: OUP Oxford
B. Alan Wallace introduces a natural theory of human consciousness that has its roots in contemporary physics and Buddhism. Wallace's "special theory of ontological relativity" suggests that mental phenomena are conditioned by the brain, but do not emerge from it. Rather, the entire natural world of mind and matter, subjects and objects, arises from a unitary dimension of reality. Wallace employs the Buddhist meditative practice of samatha to test his hypothesis, creating a kind of telescope to examine the space of the mind. He then proposes a more general theory in which the participatory nature of reality is envisioned as a self-excited circuit.In comparing these ideas to the Buddhist theory known as the Middle Way philosophy, Wallace explores further aspects of his "general theory of ontological relativity," which can be investigated through vipasyana, or insight, meditation. He then focuses on the theme of symmetry in quantum cosmology and the "problem of frozen time," relating these issues to the theory and practices of the Great Perfection school of Tibetan Buddhism. He concludes with a discussion of complementarity as it relates to science and religion.
The Unification of Physics and Consciousness
Author: B. Alan Wallace
Publisher: Columbia University Press
The scientific evidence for life after death • Explains why near-death experiences (NDEs) offer evidence of an afterlife and discredits the psychological and physiological explanations for them • Challenges materialist arguments against consciousness surviving death • Examines ancient and modern accounts of NDEs from around the world, including China, India, and many from tribal societies such as the Native American and the Maori Predating all organized religion, the belief in an afterlife is fundamental to the human experience and dates back at least to the Neanderthals. By the mid-19th century, however, spurred by the progress of science, many people began to question the existence of an afterlife, and the doctrine of materialism--which believes that consciousness is a creation of the brain--began to spread. Now, using scientific evidence, Chris Carter challenges materialist arguments against consciousness surviving death and shows how near-death experiences (NDEs) may truly provide a glimpse of an awaiting afterlife. Using evidence from scientific studies, quantum mechanics, and consciousness research, Carter reveals how consciousness does not depend on the brain and may, in fact, survive the death of our bodies. Examining ancient and modern accounts of NDEs from around the world, including China, India, and tribal societies such as the Native American and the Maori, he explains how NDEs provide evidence of consciousness surviving the death of our bodies. He looks at the many psychological and physiological explanations for NDEs raised by skeptics--such as stress, birth memories, or oxygen starvation--and clearly shows why each of them fails to truly explain the NDE. Exploring the similarities between NDEs and visions experienced during actual death and the intersection of physics and consciousness, Carter uncovers the truth about mind, matter, and life after death.
How Consciousness Survives Death
Author: Chris Carter
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
A Brief History of Humankind
Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Publisher: Harper Collins
Many people believe that the findings of neuroscience refute all religous belief, and that any religious experiences are simply the products of abnormal brain events, such as epilepsy. But does the evidence back up such claims? Not according to Peter Clarke, a neuroscientist. In this comprehensive study of the facts, Clarke looks at how the brain works, what it means to be human, the nature of free will, near death experiences, and the idea of a soul. He takes on the leading thinkers in this area, including Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sigmund Freud, Sam Harris and Daniel Wegner
Does Neuroscience Challenge Faith?
Author: Peter Clarke
Publisher: Lion Books
Because of the design of our minds. That is Justin Barrett's simple answer to the question of his title. With rich evidence from cognitive science but without technical language, psychologist Barrett shows that belief in God is an almost inevitable consequence of the kind of minds we have. Most of what we believe comes from mental tools working below our conscious awareness. And what we believe consciously is in large part driven by these unconscious beliefs. Barrett demonstrates that beliefs in gods match up well with these automatic assumptions; beliefs in an all-knowing, all-powerful God match up even better. Barrett goes on to explain why beliefs like religious beliefs are so widespread and why it is very difficult for our minds to think without them. Anyone who wants a concise, clear, and scientific explanation of why anyone would believe in God should pick up Barrett's book.
Author: Justin L. Barrett
Publisher: Altamira Press
In Brain Wars, acclaimed neuroscientist Mario Beauregard reveals compelling new evidence set to provoke a major shift in our understanding of the mind-body debate: research showing that the mind and consciousness are transmitted and filtered through the brain—but are not generated by it. Following his boundary-breaking neuroscience book The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul, coauthored with Denyse O’Leary, Brain Wars makes a powerful and provocative case against the widely held view equating human beings to complex biological computers. Like Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Beauregard believes that consciousness is more than simply a physical process that takes place in the brain. And here, he presents the evidence to prove it. Brain Wars will revolutionize the way we think about thinking forever.
The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives
Author: Mario Beauregard
Publisher: Harper Collins
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.
Author: Julian Jaynes
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Realisation of Life
Author: Rabindranath Tagore
Category: Buddhist philosophy
Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics not often treated by philosophers, including such traditional theological concepts as original sin and the salvation or 'justification' of a sinner, and the idea of the proper role of a church. This volume presents it and three short essays that illuminate it in new translations by Allen Wood and George di Giovanni, with an introduction by Robert Merrihew Adams that locates it in its historical and philosophical context.
And Other Writings
Author: Immanuel Kant,Allen Wood,George Di Giovanni
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world a US News and World Report cover story called him a genius and a renegade thinker, even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe. Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western, natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, increasingly being forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory, and at the same time, toward doubt and uncertainty in the physical explanations of the universes genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. In this paradigm, life is not an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics. Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe our own from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the readers ideas of life--time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal. The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age. Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility, and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.
How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe
Author: Robert Lanza,Bob Berman