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Phenomenological reduction and yogic meditation: commonalities and divergencies

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Åke Sander
Publicerad i Journal of East-West Thought
Volym 5
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 29-60
ISSN 2161-7236
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion
Sidor 29-60
Språk en
Länkar www.cpp.edu/~jet/Documents/JET/Jet1...
Ämnesord Phenomenology, yoga, Husserl, Patanjali, epoché, meditation
Ämneskategorier Filosofi, etik och religion, Religionsvetenskap, Religionsfilosofi


Western philosophers and scholars have long maintained the assumption that there is a gulf of difference between “Western rational thinking” and “Eastern irrational, mystical-metaphysical brooding” (cf. Beinorius 2005; Carrette & King 2005; Halbfass 1990; Tart 1969). Among those that are reasonably familiar with both traditions, however, it is well understood that neither Chinese nor Indian thinking, for example, is in any way inferior to that which can be found in the West (cf. Fung 1966; Dasgupta (1922-1955; Radhakrisnan (1929-1931)). Indeed, it would likely be more reasonable to propose that there have been a number of historical periods in which the opposite has been the case. Be that as it may, it is not the aim of this paper to make a general comparison of Eastern and Western thought relative to such criteria as level of achievement, rationality, scientific-mindedness and so forth. Rather, its more modest and specific aim is to compare Edmund Husserl’s (1859-1938) methods for achieving knowledge/truth (i.e., the phenomenological reduction(s)) with those often propounded by the Indian darśana or system of thought (i.e., yogic/jñānic) meditation); as to the latter of these, my primary source will be Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras. More elaborately, this paper proposes to compare Husserl’s phenomenological reduction(s) and Patañjali’s yogic/jñānic meditation as a methodological tool (or technique) for achieving a form of higher knowledge or truth that each claims to be otherwise impossible to reach. In making this comparison I intend to draw attention to a particular similarity as well as a particular distinction between the two: on the one hand, Husserl’s epoché and phenomenological reductions bear a striking resemblance to the method(s) advocated by Patañjali; on the other hand, although the epoché and the phenomenological reductions are often presented as being central to the phenomenological effort, unlike Patañjali, few phenomenologists have had something meaningful to say about what one must practically do to acquire and execute the involved techniques.

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