Volume 11, October 2006
Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta and in Cognitive Science
This paper will compare some discoveries and debates within contemporary neuroscience to some of Advaita Vedanta's analyses of the mind, as presented in the work of Shankara and some of his followers. I will argue, first, that the conception of mind within Advaita Vedanta provides a better model for contemporary neuroscience than either Cartesian dualism, or its antithesis, reductivist materialism, does. Second, I will show how some discoveries and arguments within contemporary neuroscience could benefit from the Vedantic philosophical framework. Finally, I will show how Vedanta might profit from interactions with contemporary neuroscience, and suggest some areas for cross-fertilization between the Indian philosophical system and contemporary brain science.