Consciousness is an active area of both philosophical debates and scientific research. Consciousness Quest, rather than covering the broad spectrum of consciousness spread over multiple scientific disciplines, refocuses the quest for consciousness on a specific area where Eastern contemplative traditions, mostly in Hindu and Buddhist theories of mind, meet Western empirical research. This book is an introduction to current scientific thinking and research on consciousness and at the same time acquaints readers with the spectrum of classical and modern philosophical notions on consciousness.

Contemporary Western Research: From Julian Jaynes to Eckhart Tolle

Contemporary Western research: From Julian Jaynes to Eckhart Tolle

Julian Jaynes' (1976) landmark book was an attempt to understand consciousness in terms of brain–mind, and this early work made consciousness study a subject matter of mainstream psychology. Eckhart Tolle's (2006) book, “A New Earth,” published several decades later, is about spiritual awakening through the transformation of consciousness. Has the scientific study of consciousness somehow backslid to spirituality? Perhaps not.

The simple left–right division of brain functions by Jaynes is now superseded if not rejected. As we read the recent books on proposals for a neuropsychological explanation of consciousness reviewed in this chapter, a left–right division proposed by Jaynes is no longer tenable. One of those books we begin ...

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