This Handbook provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the state of the field of the philosophy of meditation and engages primarily in the philosophical assessment of the merits of meditation practices.

This Handbook unites novel and original scholarship from 28 leading Asian and Western philosophers, scientists, theologians, and other scholars on the philosophical assessment of meditation. It critically assesses the conceptual and empirical validity of meditation, its philosophical implications, its legitimacy as a phenomenological research tool, its potential value as an aid to neuroscience research, its many practical benefits, and, among other considerations, its possibly misleading interpretations, applications, and consequences.

Following the introduction by the editor, the Handbook’s chapters are organized in six parts:

• Meditation and philosophy

• Meditation and epistemology

• Meditation and metaphysics

• Meditation and values

• Meditation and phenomenology

• Meditation in Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions

A distinctive, timely, and invaluable reference work, it marks the emergence of a new discipline therein, the philosophy of meditation. The book will be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience in the fields of philosophy, meditation, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, theology, and Asian and Western philosophy. It will serve as the textbook in any philosophy course on meditation, and as secondary reading in courses in philosophy of mind, consciousness, selfhood/personhood, metaphysics, or phenomenology, thereby helping to restore philosophy as a way of life.

Introduction: Is meditation philosophy?

PART I: Meditation and philosophy

1 Skeptical doubts about meditation as philosophy

2 The philosophy of meditation: The spoken Tao

3 Meditation and the paradox of self-consciousness

4 The relation between meditation and analytic philosophy

5 Engaging metacognitive practices: On the uses (and possible abuse) of meditation in philosophy

6 Differences and interaction between meditative cultivation and philosophical thought/insight in early and Theravāda Buddhism

7 The necessity of meditation in Upaniṣadic turīya and Yogācāra amala vijñana

PART II: Meditation and epistemology

8 Meditation, nonconceptuality, and the reflexive structure of consciousness

9 The experience of presence: Meditation and the nature of consciousness

10 Meditation as cultivating knowledge-how

11 How meditation changes the brain: A neurophilosophical and pragmatic account

12 How a philosophy of meditation can explore the deep connections between mindfulness and contemplative wisdom

13 Psychedelics and meditation: A neurophilosophical perspective

PART III: Meditation and metaphysics

14 Philosophy without a philosopher: Anātman as a special case of dependent arising

15 Meditative experience and the plasticity of self-experience

16 The self: What does mindfulness meditation reveal about it?

17 Control, anxiety, and the progressive detachment from the self

PART IV: Meditation and values

18 Is there a global norm in favor of global attentiveness?

19 Meditation in the context of a naturalized eudaimonic Buddhism

PART V: Meditation and phenomenology

20 The phenomenology of meditation: An Advaita approach

21 What is meditation good for?: Reflections on the use of meditation in the study of consciousness

22 Bare attention, dereification, and meta-awareness in mindfulness: A phenomenological critique 

23 Consciousness, content, and cognitive attenuation: A neurophenomenological perspective

PART VI: Meditation in Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions

24 Prosochê as Stoic mindfulness

25 The philosophical presuppositions of Christian meditation: Theo-philosophical anthropology and its corresponding participatory ontology

26 The end of man: Philosophical consummation in Jewish meditative tradition