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Lions Roar : September 2005
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 4 7 sarily physical processes is a metaphysical assumption, not a scientific fact. I feel that, in the spirit of scientific inquiry, it is critical that we allow the question to remain open, and not conflate our assumptions with empirical fact. A crucial point about the study of consciousness, as opposed to the study of the physical world, relates to the per- sonal perspective. In examining the physical world, leaving aside the problematic issue of quantum mechanics, we are deal- ing with phenomena that lend themselves well to the dominant scientific method of the objective, third-person method of inquiry. On the whole, we have a sense that a scientific explana- tion of the physical world does not exclude the key elements of the field being described. In the realm of subjective experiences, however, the story is completely different. When we listen to a purely third-person, “objective” account of mental states, whether it is a cognitive psychological theory, a neurobiological account, or an evolutionary theory, we feel that a crucial dimension of the subject has been left out. I am referring to the phenomenological aspect of mental phenomena, namely the subjective experience of the individual. PHOTO©MANUELBAUER/CONTACTPRESSIMAGES His Holiness the Dalai Lama meditating at his home in Dharamsala.