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Waking, Dreaming, Being


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Stephen Batchelor Prologue: The Dalai Lama's Conjecture Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Seeing: What Is Consciousness? 2. Waking: How Do We Perceive? 3. Being: What Is Pure Awareness? 4. Dreaming: Who Am I? 5. Witnessing: Is This a Dream? 6. Imagining: Are We Real? 7. Floating: Where Am I? 8. Sleeping: Are We Conscious in Deep Sleep? 9. Dying: What Happens When We Die? 10. Knowing: Is the Self an Illusion? Notes Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

Lively, engaging, and accessible, Waking, Dreaming, Being makes clear the relevance and relationship of contemplative neuroscience and neurophenomenology to core questions in the philosophy of mind. -- Alfred W. Kaszniak, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, University of Arizona Evan Thompson has been at the forefront of the fields of philosophy of mind and cognitive science for the past two decades, and his technical competence extends to Asian philosophy as well. Waking, Dreaming, Being ventures down paths that many 'serious scholars' fear to tread, dealing not only with traditional epistemological puzzles posed by dreaming and dreamless sleep but also with near-death experiences and other extraordinary states. Thompson covers a tremendous amount of ground in this volume, and his analysis is informed by an interdisciplinary breadth that is second to none. -- Robert H. Sharf, director of the Center for Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley Waking, Dreaming, Being is the kind of sophisticated, yet still extremely incredibly accessible, treatment of consciousness we have been waiting for. Just what does it mean to be human, to have this range of experience, and what are various ways we can use, indeed must use, to investigate this? This book pushes us to think beyond our entrenched conceptual boundaries, not with vague arguments or wishful thinking but with equal doses of logical rigor and phenomenological empathy. -- William S. Waldron, Middlebury College

About the Author

Evan Thompson is professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author ofColour Vision: A Study in Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Perception (1995) and Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (2007) and coauthor of The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (1991, revised edition, 2017).


In a game-changing book that is both an intellectual tour de force and the courageous statement of a life's ideal, Thompson brilliantly demonstrates how Indian philosophical thought can join forces with the neurosciences to create a new science of the conscious mind. A must-read for anyone who believes that the future of philosophy is crosscultural. -- Jonardon Ganeri, University of Sussex and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Evan Thompson, a philosopher with a deep knowledge of Indo-Tibetan contemplative traditions and modern neuroscience, has written a brilliant and comprehensive book on the nature of awareness and the self. Waking, Dreaming, Being is a dazzling synthesis. Thompson takes on some of the most fundamental questions about the nature of mind and addresses them with remarkable creativity and clarity. This volume is a must read for any serious student of the mind and consciousness. -- Richard J. Davidson, New York Times-bestselling coauthor of The Emotional Life of Your Brain Drawing on multiple sources of knowledge, all tested by first-person experience and critical analysis, Thompson presents an illuminating neurophenomenological account of what it's like to be a conscious human being. -- Stephen LaBerge, author of Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming Waking, Dreaming, Being powerfully demonstrates how bringing cognitive science, philosophy, and Buddhism into a critical engagement can open innovative ways of exploring the 'hard problem' of consciousness. The blending of philosophical rigor and scientific knowledge with meditative insights, with the author's own remarkable life as the larger background, makes the book a real joy to read. This book will be an invaluable help to anyone who is interested in knowing how the fundamental questions of self, consciousness, and human existence can be explored in a way that combines the best of both East and West. -- Thupten Jinpa, author of Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy With extensive training in Buddhism, brain science, and phenomenology, Evan Thompson is uniquely positioned to reveal how different perspectives on the mind can be mutually illuminating. He begins with the Buddhist insight that there are many forms of consciousness--far more than traditionally recognized in the West--and he shows that these can be associated with deferent brain processes. The result is a richly original and integrated account of human mental life. Whether you are a curious newcomer or a seasoned expert, you have much to learn from this stunning synthesis of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge science. -- Jesse Prinz, author of The Conscious Brain and Beyond Human Nature [an] excellent book. New York Times Book Review Extraordinary and exciting claims... beautiful ideas. Cosmos and Culture Contemplative and groundbreaking, Waking, Dreaming, Being is a welcome addition to college library philosophy shelves. Midwest Book Review Waking, Dreaming, Being is an exceptional and intriguing contribution to the exploration of consciousness as a multidimensional self and makes a convincing argument for the usefulness of philosophical, experiential, and scientific approaches to understanding consciousness. -- Marissa Krimsky Buddhadharma A rich, thought-provoking and poetic tour of a wide variety of phenomena of consciousness... Constructivist Foundations A magnificent tome. Big Think This is a ground-breaking exploration of conciousness and the self as they occur across the states of waking, falling asleep, dreaming, lucid dreaming, deep dreamless sleep, out-of-body experiences and dying. Evan Thompson's rich, beautifully written book interweaves lucid prose with relevant personal anecdotes, bringing the latest neuroscience together with ancient contemplative wisdom to offer valuable insightr into the nature of conciousness and the self. -- Miri Albahari Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews This remarkable book addresses deep philosophical questions from a unique perspective. Choice Waking Dreaming Being will soon be considered a landmark and a tipping point in consciousness investigations.Journal of Mind and Behavior Journal of Mind and Behavior A lucid and comprehensive account of the self as a subject of experience and agent of action. -- George T. Hole Philosophical Practice A fine book by an extraordinary author. Journal of Consciousness Studies

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