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Oscar Castro Garcia
What Am I?: A Brief Transdisciplinary Meeting about the Intimate Experience of the Numinous


Nowadays, science restricts the contents of all scientific explanations with very specific and technical definitions. This is specially the case in its attempt to define borderline issues. At the present moment, there is a growing interdisciplinary link between the so-called “sciences of the mind” and the “sciences of the spirit”. This growing connection is especially an issue with mystical phenomena (for instance, when one regards a key issue, such as the existence of God).

Neurobiology usually considers explanations on the basis of the relation “stimulus-response”, but they are not knowledgeable about what happens, for instance, in self-induction. When explaining a mystical experience, it is difficult to define the exact differences of an individual manifesting itself, and one needs to use terms such as “ego”, “I”, “self”, “selfness”, “ipseity”, etc. They are not the same thing. These concepts must therefore be analysed in a comparative way.

My intention is to render a transdisciplinary programme for the study of the first person (I) as a foundation for the study of the “numinous” (the term invented by Rudolf Otto) or the base of all mystical experiences of the homo religious.

Two of the basic aspects of the transdisciplinary programme will be expounded:

  1. A study of comparative semantics of all the historical conceptions of the “I”, present in all traditions from an ontological and a phenomenological point of view
  2. A brief review of the recent history of “neurotheology”. We will analyse the explanatory models present in the neurobiological studies of the mystical phenomena.

My intention is to render a new epistemological and hermeneutical view of the question about the “I” experience of the numinous as a transdisciplinary scientific model.

Oscar Castro Garcia is currently working on his PhD thesis about biosemiotics and neuroscience. He was born in Barcelona (1967), graduated in Philosophy at  Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, studied Physics at Universidad de Barcelona and has completed postgraduate studies as specialist in Epistemology and Cognitive Sciences. To his participation in numerous Conferences (in Jerusalem, Santiago de Chile, San Sebastian, Barcelona, Madrid and Lleida) and in several workshops in Centro de Astrobiología de Madrid (NASA, INTA) should be added his presentations of papers (in some cases as special invited speaker) at various Universities (Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, U. A. Barcelona, Universidad del País Vasco, Arteleku, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Instituto Químico de Sarriá and Universidad de Lleida). He is the author of several articles about biosemiotics, quantum neurology, mathematical thinking and scientific popularization. As a founding member of the Asociación UNESCO de Lleida (where areas of Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue, Artistic and Cultural Heritage and Education are developed), he acts as its Secretary.


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