Consciousness Studies

Cross-Cultural Perspectives


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About the Book

Consciousness is perplexing: too familiar and intimate to ignore, too complex and elusive to understand. Although consciousness is embedded in all our experience and is considered basic to all our knowing, no one seems to know what exactly it is, and the concept is both widely used and much abused. For the better part of the twentieth century, the study of consciousness was viewed as unworthy of scholarly and scientific pursuit. Research has consequently suffered.

This cross-cultural examination first explores the varieties of conscious experience and reflects on the attempts to understand and explain consciousness in the Western scholarly and scientific tradition. The next section deals with Eastern spiritual traditions and how they differ with and complement the Western viewpoints. In the final chapters the author reconciles the two traditions for a comprehensive understanding of what consciousness is, and considers how such an understanding may be helpful for a cross-cultural assessment of behavior, as well as for enhancing human abilities and wellness.

About the Author(s)

Professor K. Ramakrishna Rao is a philosopher and psychologist with expertise in Indian psychology, consciousness studies and parapsychological research. He has published nearly 200 research papers and 15 books, and has served as the executive director of the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man; as founder, head and professor of the Department of Psychology and Parapsychology, and vice-chancellor, Andhra University; and currently as president of the Asian Congress of Philosophy.

Bibliographic Details

K. Ramakrishna Rao

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 376
Bibliographic Info: 3 illustrations, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2278-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2171-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1

Introduction     3

PART I: Western Tradition

1 What It Is Like to Be Conscious     13

2 Primary Awareness     32

3 Paradoxical Awareness and Pathological Awareness     48

4 Paranormal Awareness     72

5 Consciousness, Mind and Intentionality: Philosophical Discussions     108

6 Consciousness, Brain and the New Physics     137

7 Psychologies of Consciousness     159

PART II: Eastern Tradition

8 Yoga: Royal Road to Higher Consciousness     193

9 Vedanta: A Philosophy of Pure Consciousness     216

10 Buddhism: A Psychology of Consciousness     232

11 When East and West Meet: The Case of Meditation     257

12 Confluence of Two Streams: East–West Sangamam     296

Bibliography     327

Index     353

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent…a complete guide…a great source book”—Journal of Indian Psychology
  • “Credible overview…a cross-cultural project…extensive bibliography…comprehensive…recommended”—Journal of Scientific Exploration