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Consciousness unbound

Seeing | Psychology

Has rigorous empirical research ever contradicted materialism? In his presentation during Essentia Foundation’s 2020 online work conference, Prof. Edward F. Kelly discusses decades of solid scientific work that does precisely that.

Edward F. Kelly is currently a Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), a research unit housed administratively within the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in psycholinguistics and cognitive science from Harvard in 1971, and spent the next 15-plus years working mainly in parapsychology, initially at J. B. Rhine’s Institute for Parapsychology, then for ten years through the Department of Electrical Engineering at Duke, and finally through a private research institute in Chapel Hill. Between 1988 and 2002 he worked with a large neuroscience group at UNC-Chapel Hill, mainly carrying out EEG and fMRI studies of human somatosensory cortical adaptation to natural tactile stimuli. He returned full-time to psychical research in 2002, serving as lead author of Irreducible Mind (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), Beyond Physicalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and Consciousness Unbound (Rowman & Littlefield, in press). He is now returning to his central long-term research interest – application of modern functional neuroimaging methods to intensive psychophysiological studies of paranormal or ‘psi’ processes and psi-conducive altered states of consciousness in exceptional subjects. Prof. Kelly is a member of Essentia Foundation‘s Academic Advisory Board.

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Essentia Foundation communicates, in an accessible but rigorous manner, the latest results in science and philosophy that point to the mental nature of reality. We are committed to strict, academic-level curation of the material we publish.

Recently published

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The Fall into the phenomenal: How idealism can help the Creation story converge with deep scientific truth

Taking a clue from Christian theologian and philosopher Origen of Alexandria, Androu Arsanious argues that the biblical Fall is the story of humanity’s mistaking of the Kantian phenomena (the world as represented in perception) for the Kantian noumena (the world as it is in itself); that is, the story of our mistaking appearances for reality. Understanding this allows us to complete the Augustinian project of reconciling the stories of religion, which describe what is beyond the world in terms of the world, with the stories of science, which describe the world in terms of what is beyond the world, such as mathematical abstractions. This is a fascinating essay.

From the archives

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The birth of Idealism in the West (The Return of Idealism)

Parmenides’s cryptic claim that thought and being are the same has echoed throughout Western philosophy. Prof. Tom Rockmore argues that in making this claim, Parmenides set the foundations for the struggle between idealism and realism, and suggests that unlike many interpretations, Parmenidean idealism ultimately supports the view that we cannot know a mind-independent reality.

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Higher dimensions of consciousness

Our brains do not produce consciousness, they ‘filter’ it and consciousness is related to the higher dimensions in string theory. In this thought-provoking conversation, distinguished Professor of mathematics and astronomy Bernard Carr explains his theory of consciousness and psi-phenomena.

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Gödel’s Incompleteness and the Realm of Wildlife

Humans relate to nature through the intermediation of abstract linguistic concepts that aren’t themselves part of nature. Animals, on the other hand, relate to nature through actions—gestures, secretions, sounds, etc.—that evoke meaning in a manner directly grounded in the elements of nature. The potential power of this more direct approach has been illustrated by Kurt Gödel, who used elements of mathematics—natural numbers and arithmetic operations—to model mathematics itself and investigate its nature, thereby unlocking great insight. This is analogous to how animals relate to their world. Could Gödel’s insight help us transcend the artificial boundaries created by our abstract concepts and, thereby, better understand reality?

Reading

Essays

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The science of consciousness after death

When the results of observations and experiments designed to investigate the possible continuance of consciousness after bodily death are interpreted according to standard scientific criteria, they strongly indicate the reality of the hypothesis. We fail to acknowledge it because of metaphysical biases ingrained in our culture and, in particular, academia, argues Dr. Quinn.

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It’s Time for Mindful physics! An introduction to the Time and Mind conference

We begin our coverage of Essentia Foundation’s 2023 work conference with host, Prof. Bernard Carr’s introduction to the conference. He highlights how fundamental mind is to physics, and then elaborates on the intimate relationship between mind and time, suggesting that only a better understanding of time will allow us to make sense of individual minds.

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The birth of Idealism in the West (The Return of Idealism)

Parmenides’s cryptic claim that thought and being are the same has echoed throughout Western philosophy. Prof. Tom Rockmore argues that in making this claim, Parmenides set the foundations for the struggle between idealism and realism, and suggests that unlike many interpretations, Parmenidean idealism ultimately supports the view that we cannot know a mind-independent reality.

|

Higher dimensions of consciousness

Our brains do not produce consciousness, they ‘filter’ it and consciousness is related to the higher dimensions in string theory. In this thought-provoking conversation, distinguished Professor of mathematics and astronomy Bernard Carr explains his theory of consciousness and psi-phenomena.

|

Gödel’s Incompleteness and the Realm of Wildlife

Humans relate to nature through the intermediation of abstract linguistic concepts that aren’t themselves part of nature. Animals, on the other hand, relate to nature through actions—gestures, secretions, sounds, etc.—that evoke meaning in a manner directly grounded in the elements of nature. The potential power of this more direct approach has been illustrated by Kurt Gödel, who used elements of mathematics—natural numbers and arithmetic operations—to model mathematics itself and investigate its nature, thereby unlocking great insight. This is analogous to how animals relate to their world. Could Gödel’s insight help us transcend the artificial boundaries created by our abstract concepts and, thereby, better understand reality?

Seeing

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UAPs, NDEs, and foundations of physics: it all makes sense under Idealism

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Self-cultivation, individuation, and the mind-body problem

If the fundamental layer of reality is understood to dissolve the seeming metaphysical differences between mind and matter, psyche and soul, then bodily practice becomes a direct means for psychological and spiritual development. Such development, in turn, conveys the direct experience of the unity between mind and matter, psyche and body, self and world. This is the central point of this short essay by anthropologist, Jungian analyst, and martial artist Mark Rossbach.

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