In this lecture, I argue that the embodied sociocultural setting of contemplative practices should not be thought of as the outer context for contemplative mental processes conceived of as being in the head. Rather, context is constitutive: the embodied sociocultural setting isn’t outside of the primary cognitive phenomena; it’s part of them. Contemplative neuroscience is therefore in danger of framing contemplative practices in the wrong way, namely, as understandable primarily in terms
of neural network activations. I argue that we need to reframe contemplative practices in terms of cognitive ecosystems, that is, systems of relationships among embodied and situated cognitive processes in a community. I also indicate the concrete steps that need to be taken to advance contemplative science in this way.

Evan Thompson, PhD

University of British Columbia

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee

Evan Thompson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. He studies the mind, life, consciousness, and the self, from the perspectives of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, … MORE

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