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The Embodied MindCognitive Science and Human Experience$
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Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262529365

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262529365.001.0001

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The Middle Way

The Middle Way

(p.217) 10 The Middle Way
The Embodied Mind

Francisco J. Varela

Evan Thompson

Eleanor Rosch

The MIT Press

This chapter argues that contemporary Western views have been unable to articulate together the loss of foundations for the self and for the world. There is no methodological basis for a middle way between objectivism and subjectivism (both forms of absolutism). In cognitive science and in experimental psychology, the fragmentation of the self occurs because the field is trying to be scientifically objective. Precisely because the self is taken as an object, like any other external object in the world, as an object of scientific scrutiny—precisely for that reason—it disappears from view. That is, the very foundation for challenging the subjective leaves intact the objective as a foundation. Ultimately, when contemporary traditions of thought discover groundlessness, it is viewed as negative, a breakdown of an ideal for doing science, for establishing philosophical truth with reason, or for living a meaningful life.

Keywords:   middle way, objectivism, subjectivism, absolutism, cognitive science, experimental psychology, self, contemporary thought, groundlessness

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