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Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic : A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences
Renowned Buddhist philosopher B. Alan Wallace reasserts the power of shamatha and vipashyana, traditional Buddhist meditations, to clarify the mind's role in the natural world. Raising profound questions about human nature, free will, and experience versus dogma, Wallace challenges the claim that consciousness is no more than an emergent property of the brain with little relation to universal events. Rather, he maintains that the observer is essential to measuring quantum systems and that mental phenomena (however conceived) influence brain function and behavior.Wallace embarks on a two-part mission: to restore and then transcend human nature. Part I explains the value of skepticism in Buddhism and science and the difficulty of merging their experiential methods of inquiry. Yet Wallace emphasizes that Buddhist views on human nature and the possibility of free will free us from the metaphysical constraints of scientific materialism. He then explores the radical empiricism inspired by William James and applies it to the four schools of Indian Buddhist philosophy and the Great Perfection school of Buddhism.
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Columbia University Press
December 20, 2011
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