The Really Hard Problem

The Really Hard Problem

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If consciousness is qthe hard problemq in mind science -- explaining how the amazing private world of consciousness emerges from neuronal activity -- then qthe really hard problem, q writes Owen Flanagan in this provocative book, is explaining how meaning is possible in the material world. How can we make sense of the magic and mystery of life naturalistically, without an appeal to the supernatural? How do we say truthful and enchanting things about being human if we accept the fact that we are finite material beings living in a material world, or, in Flanagan's description, short-lived pieces of organized cells and tissue?Flanagan's answer is both naturalistic and enchanting. We all wish to live in a meaningful way, to live a life that really matters, to flourish, to achieve eudaimonia -- to be a qhappy spirit.q Flanagan calls his qempirical-normativeq inquiry into the nature, causes, and conditions of human flourishing eudaimonics. Eudaimonics, systematic philosophical investigation that is continuous with science, is the naturalist's response to those who say that science has robbed the world of the meaning that fantastical, wishful stories once provided.Flanagan draws on philosophy, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and psychology, as well as on transformative mindfulness and self-cultivation practices that come from such nontheistic spiritual traditions as Buddhism, Confucianism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism, in his quest. He gathers from these disciplines knowledge that will help us understand the nature, causes, and constituents of well-being and advance human flourishing. Eudaimonics can help us find out how to make a difference, how to contribute to the accumulation of good effects -- how to live a meaningful life.... for reading the lectures carefully and designing a wonderful PowerPoint presentation with artwork beyond my dreams. ... We are a group of philosophers and scientists who have been involved in discussions with the Dalai Lama about anbsp;...

Title:The Really Hard Problem
Author: Owen Flanagan
Publisher:MIT Press - 2009-02-13

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