The question of consciousness has been examined by philosophers and theologians for millennia, particularly in ancient India. Jain philosophy has a unique perspective on consciousness. Jainism regards consciousness as the most fundamental and intrinsic feature of the soul. Consciousness (cetanā), in Jainism, is an essential and defining perennial activity of the soul (ātmā) and cannot exist without the soul. According to Jainism, not only humans but also the animals, plants and the natural elements such as air, water, fire and earth have potentially infinite consciousness.
Thus, whereas Jainism explores consciousness from the idea of the soul, modern science seeks to explain it biologically, such as the neural correlates of consciousness. Other scientific approaches from various disciplines that explore the question of consciousness include artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computational theory, emergentism, information science, quantum mechanics, and neurobiology among others.
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to connect philosophers, scholars of religious studies, and scientists in exploring the common ground between Jain philosophy and the scientific study of consciousness. Understanding consciousness can open new avenues of scientific research and philosophical inquiry beyond the mind. Possibilities include differentiating levels of consciousness and examining the consciousness of other living beings. We welcome scholars from any field of study to submit their paper on consciousness, broadly defined, to foster a global dialogue on the current state of the study of consciousness and its global impact.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Consciousness and the soul
- The origin and evolution of consciousness
- Jain theories and philosophies on consciousness
- Matter and the soul
- Psychological phenomena associated with consciousness (e.g., śatāvadhāna)
- The neural correlates of consciousness (NCC)
- Quantum physics and consciousness
- Embryology and developmental biology
- The global relevance and implications of consciousness studies (e.g. environmental and ecological equilibrium)
Please submit your proposal (maximum in 300 words) by 31 December 2020.
Download the call for papers [PDF]
Banner image: Illustration of the Infant Jina Mahavira: Folio from a Kalpasutra Manuscript late 14th century (source)