New Questions for Neuroscientific Inquiry: Commentary on “Spirituality: The Legacy of Parapsychology”

in Archive for the Psychology of Religion
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Abstract

This paper inspires new questions, possibilities, and challenges for the scientific study of spirituality, and other experiential phenomena. First, the authors offer a refreshing conceptualization of spirituality, one that is similar to that proposed for, and supported by recent neuroscientific study of, religious experience. To what extent are spirituality and religious experience similar at the neural descriptive level? How might they be different? Second, the authors draw creatively upon Weak Quantum Theory to suggest a potentially useful and powerful theoretical model—generalized entanglement—to account for/describe spirituality, parapsychology, and possibly other experiential phenomena. This framework has potential not only to legitimize the study of such phenomena within 'mainstream science' (without compromising valuable holistic understandings), but also guide new scientific inquiry on spirituality and other experiential phenomena. To what extent, though, must 'scientific' paradigms and assumptions be re-imagined to pursue such studies? Ultimately, this paper raises challenging questions regarding the identity of 'science' today, the answers to which (or, at least, serious reflection upon) are needed to forward meaningful inquiry of spirituality (or any other topic). What is the 'job' (and, thus, interpretive limits) of 'science' today (e.g., explanation, description, proving 'reality-existence' of 'objects' of study)? Do all 'sciences' hold the same set of assumptions/have the same interpretive limits? To what extent is 'mainstream science' monolithic?

New Questions for Neuroscientific Inquiry: Commentary on “Spirituality: The Legacy of Parapsychology”

in Archive for the Psychology of Religion

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