Mind & Life
Evan Thompson - Expanding Our View of the Mind

Evan Thompson - Expanding Our View of the Mind

August 19, 2020

In this episode, Wendy speaks with philosopher of mind Evan Thompson about embodied cognition and contemplative science. Evan is one of the earliest contributors to advancing the dialogue between Buddhism and Western science through his work with Mind & Life co-founder Francisco Varela, and he's spent decades exploring how the human mind extends beyond the brain, throughout the body and into the world. In this conversation, they discuss:

  • his unique upbringing and educational path;
  • his work with Francisco Varela and the beginnings of the conversation between Buddhism and cognitive science;
  • why philosophy matters;
  • the project of neurophenomenology and the integration of first- and third-person methods;
  • the problem of neurocentrism;
  • 4E cognition (that mind is embodied, embedded, extended, and enacted);
  • the “self” as construction vs. illusion;
  • how predictive models of mind line up with the enactive view;
  • whether or not meditation is a special avenue to reveal the nature of the mind;
  • the need for more thought systems and religions at the table in contemplative science;
  • and why it's critical today to understand the human mind in nuanced ways.

Full show notes and resources

Doris Chang - Critical Consciousness

Doris Chang - Critical Consciousness

August 5, 2020

dorischang_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with clinical psychologist Doris Chang about her work on race, ethnicity, culture, and other dimensions of social identity as they shape psychological experience and mental health treatment. They discuss a number of topics, including:

  • Critical Consciousness as the ability to recognize and analyze systems of inequality, and the commitment to take action against these systems;
  • that race is a social construct, not a biological fact;
  • the impact of race on measures of well-being and health;
  • how she brings critical consciousness into the classroom, and how it unfolds with students;
  • the role of contemplative practice in becoming aware of systems of oppression;
  • her research on these training programs;
  • where contemplative science needs to go next, and other topics.

Full show notes and resources

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