Does Meditation Give Us Unique Insight into Ultimate Reality? The Ethical Aim of Buddhism

  • Hoyt L. EdgeEmail author
Part of the Studies in Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality book series (SNCS, volume 2)


The first part of the paper focuses on the narrow philosophical question of whether one can know ultimate reality through meditation. I argue that such knowledge is not possible, that experience is always mediated. Interpreting the Buddha naturalistically, I argue that his aim was less about knowledge and more about providing insight into how one can live a flourishing life. In the second section of the paper, I discuss ways in which a philosophical approach (broadly understood) may benefit a team engaging in neurological studies of meditation. Such an approach might help in linguistic analysis, as well as in understanding the cross-cultural context of traditional meditation traditions. I further suggest that mindfulness might make one more open to scientific discovery. Finally, I propose that the study of meditation will both benefit and be benefited by theories of extended cognition.


Altered State Mystical Experience Ultimate Reality Philosophical Approach Meditative Experience 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionRollins CollegeWinter ParkUSA

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