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Beyond Combination: How Cosmic Consciousness Grounds Ordinary Experience

  • ITAY SHANI (a1) and JOACHIM KEPPLER (a2)

Abstract

The aim of this paper is twofold. First, our purpose is to propose and motivate a novel and scientifically informed variant of cosmopsychism, namely, the view that the experiences of ordinary subjects are ultimately grounded in an all-pervading cosmic consciousness. Second, we will demonstrate that this approach generates promising avenues for addressing familiar problems of phenomenal constitution. We use stochastic electrodynamics (SED) as the physical bedrock of our approach, supplementing it with key insights about the nature of consciousness long emphasized in eastern philosophy and other wisdom traditions. We proceed to show that our approach substantiates an intriguing way of thinking about the dynamical emergence of ordinary consciousness from cosmic consciousness, identifying the latter with the vacuum state of quantum field theory. Finally, we argue that the present approach is well suited to address problems of phenomenal constitution, in particular as they pertain to the qualities and structure of experience and to the generation of subjects.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Footnotes

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Itay Shani would like to thank the audience at the Idealism and the Mind-Body Problem workshop (NYU Shanghai, June 2017) for stimulating feedback that contributed to the motive force behind the present paper. Thanks are also due to Miri Albahari for many prolific discussions. Both IS and JK thank an anonymous referee for this journal for providing us with insightful comments.

‘Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Always our being is descending into us from we know not whence’.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The Over-Soul’

Footnotes

References

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Beyond Combination: How Cosmic Consciousness Grounds Ordinary Experience

  • ITAY SHANI (a1) and JOACHIM KEPPLER (a2)

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