Ass N Titties Essay

1326 words - 6 pages

There is almost no doubt that there is a relationship between psychology and philosophy. Indeed, many people actually considering that the philosophies related to and concerned with the mind and thought are the precursor to modern psychology. Of course, most of these philosophies were decidedly western, or popular in the west. However, the problem with our western views of consciousness in philosophy and psychology is that often times the way we view the conscious process leads to a so-called "infinite regression." That is to say, if we see consciousness as a set of rules guiding our experiences in life, there must also be another set of rules that defines how we know when to use those ...view middle of the document...

In the article, Pickering states, "Buddhism presents a rough approximation of a phenomenological psychology founded on the process of metaphysics. Human mental life is portrayed as caught up in samsara, or the cycle of conditioned and illusory existence." (Pickering 1995, 3) In other words, our consciousness is basically the result of our own perceptions on our experiences. This means that our conscious state can change based on, or with, our perception of the experiences. Not necessarily the experiences themselves. Of course, this is a very simplified version of Buddhist thought. This is backed up later in the article when Pickering says, "a fundamental Buddhist principle is that conscious awareness is structured according to values, views, and needs, much as the constructivist position maintains. Indeed, since the flow of consciousness experienced is thus liable to be distorted by craving and attachment this can become a source of error and suffering. Buddhist practice aims to free consciousness from these distorting influences..." (Pickering 1995, 9). These views are particularly nice because they indicate a certain flexibility to our consciousnesses. That through some mechanism we can alter how we view the world. In this way, it eliminates the infinite regress found in the western examples. In other words, if we follow this view, there aren't necessarily a set of rules that define our consciousness. However, there isn't much of an indication of how we are able to alter the way we perceive our experiences, other than some assumed meta-cognitive function.
Finally, we'll look at a view that is vastly different from the other two. In the article Buddhism and Brain Science written by Michael Kurak, Kurak writes, "In his book Two Views of Mind: Abhidarma and Brain Science Christopher deCharms (1998) sketches an approach to consciousness that goes some way towards meeting our criteria. It derives ultimately from the Sauntrantika idea that the mind arrives at its object by means of a process of negation in which everything that is not the object under consideration is excluded." (Kurak 2001, 24). Simplified, we process and identify things, and experiences, not by what they are but by what they are not. This so far is the most different of the three views, the most different from our current psychological and philosophical ideas in the west. This view pulls us away from the previously mentioned problems. It eliminates the problems on an infinite regression by identifying the one definitive rule by which we identify things, emotions, and experiences. It also answers the question as to how we do so.
Clearly, taking in all three of these views, we can see that they all have some commonalities not only amongst themselves but with our more western view of cognition. Put together, all of the views attempt to explain the process by which we identify objects and subjects, in other words, not only physical things but thoughts and...

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