From Enactive to Enlightened AI

© Elena Antonova, Ph.D. (Association Member, Mind & Life Europe) The Embodied Mind, a book co-authored by Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleonor Rosch, directly engaged with the field of Artifical Intelligence (AI) and robotics by critiquing a cognitive representationalist model of the mind and presenting an embodied and enactive approach as an alternative. It led to the emergence of the new kind of AI robotics, with the embodied enactive robots learning from the experiences of their interaction with the environment and/or humans, rather than being fully programmed at ‘birth’ by their creator. So I asked myself: how can contemplative ...
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Initiative for Contemplative Phenomenology (ICP)

We interviewed Michel Bitbol, Mind & Life Europe Association Member and French researcher in philosophy of science, on the MLE community he is leading with Natalie Depraz and Claire Petitmengin, the Initiative for Contemplative Phenomenology (ICP). You have said that "philosophy is a bridge" in the dialogue between science and Buddhism; can you tell us something about this idea?  The dialogue between science and Buddhism represents an extraordinary opportunity of renewal for human cultures and wellbeing. But it also poses some risks: there is a risk of confusion, if the differences between the two disciplines are not borne in mind ...
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Many “effects” of Mindfulness research could in fact be a placebo effect

We have asked Mind & Life Europe asscociate and assistent Professor cognitive modelling at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Marieke van Vugt about the the mindfulness hype, what it is, where it comes from and where it is going. At the end of 2017, you wrote an article about the mindfulness hype. Can you explain what the mindfulness hype is and where it comes from? The mindfulness hype refers to the deluge of articles and other media contributions that claim that mindfulness is the solution to everything—from improving your concentration to becoming a more successful CEO. However, if ...
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‘Social change needs to come from changing educational contexts.’

In the run up to the 2017 European Varela Awards we highlight some of the work of our 2016 awardees. Carlos Garcia Rubio and Catherine Andreu received a European Varela award for their research into the effect mindfulness in schools has on the self-regulation abilities of children living in highly vulnerable areas in Latin-America. ‘Schools can be an ideal place to carry out mindfulness-based socio-emotional programmes to promote healthier development.’ Carlos and Catherine first met each other in 2014 at the European Summer Research Institute (ESRI). A couple of years later they met again in Spain, in a school where ...
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‘This workshop model is the future of contemplative science.’

In June, one of Mind and Life Europe’s Communities, the "Initiative for Contemplative Phenomenology", organised its first public meeting. A group of thirty philosophers, psychologists, neuro-cognitive scientists and medical doctors, all practitioners of meditation in various traditions, gathered in France to explore and describe their lived experience of contemplative states. ‘The workshop was a great opportunity to go deeper into meditative experience and to engage with pioneers, smart, kind, and rigorous thinkers, therapists and researchers interested in a non-reductionist look at conscious experience.’ Workshop participant Describing state of consciousness from within Most Western scientific approaches to contemplative disciplines investigate meditation ...
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