Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-54vk6 Total loading time: 0.26 Render date: 2022-08-11T15:44:54.461Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Mysticism and Social Epistemology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2012

Extract

This article deals with the grounds for accepting or rejecting the insights of mystics. We examine the social-epistemological question of what the non-mystic should make of the mystic's claim, and what she might be able to make of it, given various possible states of the evidence available to her.

For clarity, let's reserve the term “mystic” for one who claims to have had an ineffable insight. As such, there are two parts to the mystic's claim: first, a substantive insight into the way the world works; second, a (perfectly effable) meta-insight that the substantive insight is ineffable. The two parts to the claim are independent: it is possible to accept that the mystic has been struck by an ineffable idea, but refuse to lend credence to the idea itself. Similarly, it is possible to accept the mystic's claim that she has had a veridical insight, whilst denying her claim that it is ineffable, or that she can know that it's ineffable. Thus, we could inquire into the grounds for accepting either part of the mystic's conjunctive claim. In this article, we deal only with the grounds for rejecting or accepting the substantive insight of a mystic, granting the meta-insight that the insight is ineffable.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2004

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Alston, W. P. (1991). Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Bucke, R. M. (1901). Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind. Philadelphia: Innes.Google Scholar
Crane, T. (1992). The nonconceptual content of experience. In Crane, T. (ed.), The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Evans, D. (1989). Can philosophers limit what mystics can do? A critique of Steven Katz. Religious Studies, 25, 5360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feigl, H. (1953). The scientific outlook: Naturalism and humanism. In Feigl, H. and Brodbeck, M. (eds.), Readings in the Philosophy of Science. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
Forman, R. K. C. (1993). Of deserts and doors: Methodology of the study of mysticism. Sophia, 32, 3144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gimello, R. (1978). Mysticism and meditation. In Katz, S. T. (ed.), Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
Goldman, A. I. (1997). Science, publicity, and consciousness. Philosophy of Science, 64, 525545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldman, A. I. (2001). Experts: Which ones should you trust? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 63, 85110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Happold, F. C. (1963). Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Hardwig, J. (1985). Epistemic dependence. Journal of Philosophy, 82, 335349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hempel, C. (1952). Fundamentals of Concept Formation in Empirical Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Huxley, A. (1944). The Perennial Philosophy. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
Huxley, A. (1968). The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
James, W. (1902/1985). The Varieties of Religious Experience. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Katz, S. T. (1978). Language, epistemology, and mysticism. In Katz, S. T. (ed.), Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Kukla, A. (1998). Studies in Scientific Realism. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kukla, A. (2005). Ineffability and Philosophy. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kukla, A. and Walmsley, J. (2004). A theory's predictive success does not warrant belief in the unobservable entities it postulates. In Hitchcock, C. (Ed.) Contemporary debates in the philosophy of science. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Maxwell, G. (1962). The ontological status of theoretical entities. In Feigl, H. and Maxwell, G. (eds.), Scientific Explanation, Space and Time. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
Otto, R. (1932). Mysticism East and West. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Peacocke, C. (1989). Transcendental Arguments in the Theory of Content (Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Peacocke, C. (1992). Scenarios, concepts and perception. In Crane, T. (Ed.), The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Penner, H. (1983). The mystical illusion. In Katz, S. T. (ed.), Mysticism and Religious Traditions. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Popper, K. (1959). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
Proudfoot, W. (1986). Religious Experience. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Putnam, H. (1975). Mathematics, Matter, and Method: Philosophical Papers (vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Revel, J., and Ricard, M. (1999). The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life. New York: Schoken.Google Scholar
Schmitt, F. F. ed. (1994). Socializing Epistemology: The Social Dimension of Knowledge. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
Schuon, F. (1975). The Transcendent Unity of Religions. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
Smith, H. (1976). Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
Stace, W. T. (1952). Time and Eternity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Underhill, E. (1911). Mysticism. New York: Dutton.Google Scholar
Watts, A. (1954). Myth and Ritual in Christianity. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Mysticism and Social Epistemology
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Mysticism and Social Epistemology
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Mysticism and Social Epistemology
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *