Friday, October 12, 2012

Mindfulness Meditation and Autonomy: A Buddhist Theory of Free Will by Rick Repetti

[T]he 'hard' metaphysical problem of free will may be explained in simple, metaphysically 'easy' causal/functional terms as a product of the mechanics of metacognitive mental causation: There seems to be a causal connection between the extent to which the mind can "go meta-", or loop back in reflectively on its own processes (e.g., think about its thoughts, prefer its desires, etc.), and self-regulation (autonomy, free will), evident in sensory-motor agility, biofeedback, and a host of related phenomena of an equally mundane nature.
The present research explores two new directions to this line of thought: (1) the extent to which mindfulness and other meditation practices increase self-regulation or autonomy, and (2) the extent to which one may develop a cogent version of a Buddhist theory of free will based on these ideas.