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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Approaches to Consciousness

The Marriage of Science and Mysticism

ISBN 9780333912768
Publication Date September 2004
Formats Paperback Hardcover 
Publisher Palgrave

Consciousness, and the relation between mind and brain, is a topic of contentious debate, and increasing interest amongst both academics and students of psychology. In this text, Lancaster takes a refreshingly balanced look at consciousness, bringing in approaches from neuroscience, cognitive science, depth psychology, philosophy and mysticism. With a distinctive 'transpersonal' orientation, this text will be an invaluable authoritative overview of this subject, integrating scholarship and research from diverse areas.

BRIAN L. LANCASTER is Professor of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, the first such post in the UK. He is also Deputy Head, Centre for Applied Psychology and Co-Director of the Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology Research Unit at Liverpool John Moores University. His first book, Mind Brain and Human Potential (Element) won an international award. He has a high profile in the British Psychological Society as Founder Member of both the Section of Conscious and Experimental Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology. He has a considerable international reputation as a leader and innovator in these fields.

The Big Picture
A Common Purpose?
Approaches: 1. Towards Emptiness
Neurophysiological Approaches
Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches
The Approach of Depth Psychology
Spiritual and Mystical Approaches: 2. Towards Fullness


With formidable erudition and the widest of perspectives, Brian Lancaster has written a challenging and potentially ground-breaking book on the relationship between scientific and mystical ideas of human consciousness. A humane scholar in the great tradition of William James, his work deserves to be read and discussed widely.' - Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
'This is a work of penetrating scholarship that should do much to clarify the similarities and contradictions between mysticism and science. Brian Lancaster is one of the few authorities with the breadth of knowledge and understanding in both fields to attempt this clarification, and his book will become required reading for all those who hope for a more humane and holistic alternative to the materialist-reductionist philosophy that has for too long dominated Western thought.' - Professor David Fontana, Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Distinguished Professor, University of Cardiff
'A major contribution to the innovative and fertile dialogue between neuroscientists and contemplatives.' - Matthieu Ricard, Official Interpreter for the Dalai Lama
'A truly groundbreaking work!' - Professor Jorge Ferrer, Core Faculty, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco
'This volume is a subtle, scholarly attempt to integrate neurophysiological and psychological with spiritual and mystical approaches to the mystery of consciousness, thereby to consolidate consciousness studies as a fully legitimate and unitary discipline.' - Julian Candy, Journal of Consciousness Studies'...a far better summary of current thinking than most books about consciousness.' - Susan Blackmore, University of the West of England, UK
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