Philosophy East and West
EvanThompson has written a marvelous book. Waking, Dreaming, Being blends intellectual autobiography, phenomenology, cognitive science, studies in Buddhist and Vedānta philosophy, and creative metaphilosophy in an exploration of what it is to be a person, of the nature of consciousness, and of the relation of contemplative to scientific method in the understanding of human life. I have learned a great deal from it, and the community of philosophers and cognitive scientists will be reading and discussing it for some time. But I have come to criticize Thompson, not to praise him. Here I raise a few issues regarding Thompson’s treatment of the self and the connections between his own account and the Madhyamaka and Yogācāra accounts with which he juxtaposes it, and then turn to his treatment of consciousness and end up with some questions about his commitment to the reflexivity of awareness. But I emphasize that these sets of worries are specific and local, and should be seen in the context of genuine admiration for this fine volume and for its author.
© 2016 by Jay L. Garfield
Garfield, Jay L., "Reflections on Reflectivity: Comments on Evan Thompson’s Waking, Dreaming, Being" (2016). Philosophy: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.