Skip to main content

Reading the mind of God (without Hebrew lessons): Alston, shared attention, and mystical experience

  • ADAM GREEN (a1)

Alston's perceptual account of mystical experience fails to show how it is that the sort of predicates that are used to describe God in these experiences could be derived from perception, even though the ascription of matched predicates in the natural order are not derived in the manner Alston has in mind. In contrast, if one looks to research on shared attention between individuals as mediated by mirror neurons, then one can give a perceptual account of mystical experience which draws a tighter connection between what is reported in mystical reports and the most similar reports in the natural order.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Alston William P. (1991) Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press).
Bellugi Ursula, Lichtenberger Liz, Jones Wendy, Lai Zona, & St George Marie (2000) ‘The neurocognitive profile of Williams Syndrome: a complex pattern of strengths and weaknesses’, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 12, Supplement, 7–29.
Brinck Ingar (2001) ‘Attention and the evolution of intentional communication’, Pragmatics & Cognition, 9, 259277.
Campbell John (2005) ‘Joint attention and common knowledge’, in Elian Naomi, Hoerl Christoph, McCormack Teresa, & Roessler Johannes (eds) Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 287297.
Carey S. & Johnson S. C. (2000) ‘Metarepresentation and conceptual change: evidence from Williams syndrome’, in Sperber D. (ed.) Metarepresentations: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (New York NY: Oxford University Press), 225264.
Gale Richard (1994) ‘Why Alston's mystical doxastic practice is subjective’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 54, 869875.
Hobson R. Peter (2004) The Cradle of Thought: Exploring the Origins of Thinking (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Hobson R. Peter (2005) ‘What puts the jointness into joint attention?’, in Elian Hoerl, McCormack , & Roessler Joint Attention, 185204.
Illingworth Ronald S. (1980) ‘The development of communication in the first year and the factors which affect it’, in Murry Thomas & Murry Joan (eds), Infant Communication: Cry and Early Speec (Houston TX: College-Hill Press), 419.
Kosslyn Stephen M. & Koenig Olivier (1995) Wet Mind: The New Cognitive Neuroscience (New York NY: The Free Press).
Noe Alva (2004) Action in Perception (Cambridge MA: MIT Press).
Reddy Vasudevi (2000) ‘Coyness in early infancy’, Developmental Science, 3, 186192.
Reddy Vasudevi (2005) ‘Before the “third element”: understanding attention to self’, in Hoerl Eilan, McCormack , & Roessler (eds) Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds, 85109.
Rizzolatti Giacomo, Fogassi Leonardo, & Gallese Vittorio (2006) ‘Mirrors in the mind’, Scientific American, 295, 5461.
Stamenov Maxim & Gallese Vittorio (eds) (2002) Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language (Amsterdam: John Benjamins).
Tager-Flusberg Helen, Skwerer Daniela Plesa, & Joseph Robert M. (2006) ‘Model syndromes for investigating social cognitive and affective neuroscience: a comparison of autism and Williams syndrome’, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1, 175182.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 20 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 147 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.