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<p>Using as a framework the logical treatment of causality in the Buddhist Madhyamika, a theory of the psychology of event coherence and causal connectedness is developed, and suggestive experimental evidence is offered. The basic claim is that events are perceived as coherent and causally bound to the extent that the outcome is seen to be already contained in the ground of the event in some form and the connecting link between them is seen as the appropriate means for changing the outcome-in-the-ground to the outcome-as-perceived. There are four types of such connections: (a) the identity of the object in the ground and outcome is seen as the same (as in the phi phenomenon); (b) a property is seen to be transferred from ground to outcome (as in a Michottean analysis of perceived causal motion); (c) for animate beings, a cognitive representation and a state of the world are seen to match - either the representation-as-outcome coming to match the world-as-ground (as in the folk psychology of perception) or the world-as-outcome coming to match the representation-as-ground (as in intentional action); (d) the `essence' of a category is seen to manifest itself (as in folk explanations based on personality). The standard critique of such coherence explanations is that they are tautological. We demonstrate that `nontautological' scientific accounts become convincing coherent explanations only to he extent that the outcome is re-introduced (in a disguised form) into the ground. Explanations which are noncausal altogether, such as probability or chance, are shown to be psychologically unstable. This critique suggests some new perspectives on causal thinking both in the cognitive sciences and the folk theories of daily life.</p>

<p>Within <em>The Varieties of Religious Experience </em> lies the germ of a truly radical idea. It is that religious experience has something important and basic to contribute to the science of psychology. Yet now, a hundred years after the publication of James's monumental work, the mainstream academic fields of psychology are no closer to considering, let alone implementing, this idea than they were in James's day. Why? Surely one aspect of this is the way in which the categories and imagery of our society envisage an otherworldly religion and a naturalistic psychology which are on different planes of existence and cannot communicate with one other. I believe that the Eastern meditation traditions can bridge this divide and that had William James been as familiar with Eastern religions as he was with Christianity, he would have had a great deal more specifically to say about what religion had to offer science. The purpose of this paper is to look again at James's material through the lens of Eastern, particularly Buddhist, thought and meditation. Ideally this will serve not only to provide a new perspective on James's classic work but to show a new direction in which the study of religious experience can impact research in psychology and in the emerging cognitive sciences.</p>

<p>Eleanor Rosch discusses Buddhist themes and practices of letting go bias, developing groundedness and awareness, as well Buddhist ways of thinking about time and spontaneous action. She relates these practices and themes to common insights in other religions and to the disciplines psychology and cognitive science. (Zach Rowinski 2004-06-10)</p>

This essay is the basis of a lecture given to the American Psychological Association (APA) by Eleanor Rosch, a well known cognitive psychologist, on how Buddhist perspectives on the mind and awareness might be relevant to contemporary psychology. (Zach Rowinski 2004-05-20)