Doing Consciousness Studies at Goddard College

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Abstract

In the first part of this article we briefly describe the design and development of a Consciousness Studies concentration at Goddard College, a student centered, progressive educational institution in the northeastern United States. We emphasize the tensions we experienced between different orientations in Consciousness Studies and especially the one related to the scientific and transpersonal ends of the spectrum of consciousness. In the second part, we relate the scientific-transpersonal issue that we experienced at Goddard to the broader theory and practice of Consciousness Studies. We also link the latter to the so-called explanatory gap between third and first person forms of consciousness and the call for first person methods of exploring consciousness. Our conclusion is that the scientific approach has the edge and is at risk of assimilating other approaches to the detriment of Consciousness Studies. In our view, the future development of Consciousness Studies, both in theory and practice, requires several different approaches from the scientific to the transpersonal and privileging one is to narrow the field of possibilities and to risk falling prey to one-sidedness.

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