materialism

  • We Are Not Kind Machines Paid Member

    Science seems omnipresent in the modern world, and its explanatory force and benefits are hard to deny. Indeed, its success has even led some, including a number of well-regarded figures in the contemporary Buddhist world, to argue that the dharma itself must be made more “scientific” if it is to survive. More »
  • Are we kidding our selves? Paid Member

    In the January 22nd, 2010 Times Literary Supplement, the philosopher Peter Hacker considers Galen Strawson's book Selves, which at 452 pages seems like a dense and weighty philosophical tome. In his review, Hacker traces the use of the word "self" from its early Middle English origins up to its (problematic, he says) use by John Locke in the famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). After this, Hacker writes: "Self" rapidly sprouted definite and indefinite articles, and singular and plural forms. It was conceived to be the subject of experience, the possessor of experience and the core of the identity of the person. Indeed, it was supposedly the reference of the first-person pronoun "I". It was the self, thus conceived, that Hume famously failed to find: "When I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other.... I can never catch myself at any time without a perception, and can never observe anything but a perception." Hume's failure will be familiar to most Buddhists. More »
  • David Brooks on "neural Buddhism" Paid Member

    David Brooks discusses the "militant materialism of some modern scientists" then says: Over the past several years, the momentum has shifted away from hard-core materialism. The brain seems less like a cold machine. It does not operate like a computer. Instead, meaning, belief and consciousness seem to emerge mysteriously from idiosyncratic networks of neural firings. Those squishy things called emotions play a gigantic role in all forms of thinking. Love is vital to brain development. Researchers now spend a lot of time trying to understand universal moral intuitions. Genes are not merely selfish, it appears. Instead, people seem to have deep instincts for fairness, empathy and attachment. Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. More »