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Levels of Cognition: Did Indian Philosophers know something we do not?


Bronkhorst, J (2012). Levels of Cognition: Did Indian Philosophers know something we do not? Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 66(2):227-237.

Abstract

This article argues that a model of the mind held by a number of Indian and Tibetan philosophical schools, both Brahmanical and Buddhist, could be extremely useful, even today, and has, if suitably adjusted, great explanatory power with regard to a number of phenomena that we usually call religious. According to this model, there are two fundamentally different levels of cognition: one “with conceptual constructs”, the other one without these. Slightly adjusted, the model comes close to predicting the following phenomena: the experiences of mystics, the almost universally attested use of ritual and of magical formulas, certain often recurring themes in mythology and philosophy, and the omnipresent conviction that there is a deeper reality hiding behind the world of our everyday experience. The article then discusses some possible objections one might raise against the model, and ends with a plea to take it seriously.

Abstract

This article argues that a model of the mind held by a number of Indian and Tibetan philosophical schools, both Brahmanical and Buddhist, could be extremely useful, even today, and has, if suitably adjusted, great explanatory power with regard to a number of phenomena that we usually call religious. According to this model, there are two fundamentally different levels of cognition: one “with conceptual constructs”, the other one without these. Slightly adjusted, the model comes close to predicting the following phenomena: the experiences of mystics, the almost universally attested use of ritual and of magical formulas, certain often recurring themes in mythology and philosophy, and the omnipresent conviction that there is a deeper reality hiding behind the world of our everyday experience. The article then discusses some possible objections one might raise against the model, and ends with a plea to take it seriously.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 66 (2012) > 2
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:27 Aug 2012 07:53
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:52
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717

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