Towards an epistemology of inner experience
Meditation research in the West has so far been a view onto the meditator from the outside, that is from a third-person perspective. Using inner experience, i.e. a first-person perspective, is uncommon, mostly because we do not have a reliable methodology, but also, because the prevalent mindset within science holds that such an enterprise is, ontologically speaking, of not much use. As long as consciousness is seen as purely derivative of matter and secondary to it, it cannot possibly have its own epistemological access to reality. I sketch here the historical conditions and systematic requirements that are necessary for an epistemology of inner experience to work. I hold that inner experience is not only a viable but also necessary mode of insight for a science that is more than natural science in the current sense. Many aspects of knowledge, such as values, creative insights into new theoretical models, intuition about new and fruitful avenues of research are strictly speaking only available to a first-person perspective and hence results of inner experience. The preconditions of such an epistemology are being discussed in this chapter.
Walach, H. (2014)., Towards an epistemology of inner experience, in S. Schmidt & H. Walach (eds.), Meditation, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 7-22.
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