Cover image for Reality and Mystical Experience By F. Samuel Brainard

Reality and Mystical Experience

F. Samuel Brainard

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$77.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-01937-6

$30.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-03021-0

312 pages
6" × 9"
1999

Reality and Mystical Experience

F. Samuel Brainard

“Here are promising new pathways of philosophic dialogue across religious and cultural borders. Brainard has with chutzpah and creative insight invented a new terminology for comparing classical accounts of mystical experience, East and West. Close to Whitehead, and augmenting some of the efforts of Peirce, Polanyi, and Wittgenstein, he proposes a phenomenological scheme for philosophizing, once again, about the ALL, without doing violence to the plurality of particular linguistic practices in which encounters with the ALL are described. Brainard’s book is sure to awaken dormant debates on the relations among language, experience, and divinity.”

 

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Responding to our modern disillusionment with any claims to absolute truth regarding morality or reality, this book offers a conceptual approach for discussing absolutes without denying either the relevance of divergent religious and philosophical teachings or the evidence supporting postmodern and poststructuralist critiques. Case studies of mysticism within Advaita-Vedānta Hinduism, Mādhyamika Buddhism, and Nicene Christianity demonstrate the value of this approach and offer many fresh insights into the metaphysical presuppositions of these religions as well as into the nature and value of mystical experience. Like Douglas Hofstadter's Gōdel, Escher, Bach, this book finds ultimate reality to be rationally graspable only as an eternal fugue of pattern and paradox. Yet it does not so much counter other philosophical views as provide a conceptual tool for understanding and classifying incommensurable views.
“Here are promising new pathways of philosophic dialogue across religious and cultural borders. Brainard has with chutzpah and creative insight invented a new terminology for comparing classical accounts of mystical experience, East and West. Close to Whitehead, and augmenting some of the efforts of Peirce, Polanyi, and Wittgenstein, he proposes a phenomenological scheme for philosophizing, once again, about the ALL, without doing violence to the plurality of particular linguistic practices in which encounters with the ALL are described. Brainard’s book is sure to awaken dormant debates on the relations among language, experience, and divinity.”
“Brainard’s careful arguments help move the philosophical discussion beyond the presently dominant paradigm of contextualism. For this reason alone Brainard’s book is valuable.”

F. Samuel Brainard received his doctorate in religion from Temple University. During his varied career he has taught religion at Temple and Rutgers-Camden, served as financial vice president of an electronics manufacturing firm, owned and operated a bookstore, and been involved with two nonprofit organizations, one focusing on holistic health and the other on interreligious understanding.

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