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The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness is the first of its kind in the field, and its appearance marks a unique time in the history of intellectual inquiry on the topic. After decades during which consciousness was considered beyond the scope of legitimate scientific investigation, consciousness re-emerged as a popular focus of research towards the end of the last century, and it has remained so for nearly 20 years. There are now so many different lines of investigation on consciousness that the time has come when the field may finally benefit from a book that pulls them together and, by juxtaposing them, provides a comprehensive survey of this exciting field. An authoritative desk reference, which will also be suitable as an advanced textbook.

Dynamic and static body postures are a defining characteristic of mind-body practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong (TCQ). A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that TCQ may be beneficial for psychological health, including management and prevention of depression and anxiety. Although a variety of causal factors have been identified as potential mediators of such health benefits, physical posture, despite its visible prominence, has been largely overlooked. We hypothesize that body posture while standing and/or moving may be a key therapeutic element mediating the influence of TCQ on psychological health. In the present paper, we summarize existing experimental and observational evidence that suggests a bi-directional relationship between body posture and mental states. Drawing from embodied cognitive science, we provide a theoretical framework for further investigation into this interrelationship. We discuss the challenges involved in such an investigation and propose suggestions for future studies. Despite theoretical and practical challenges, we propose that the role of posture in mind-body exercises such as TCQ should be considered in future research.

In his talk entitled, “Ethics of Science and Experience in the Age of the Anthropocene,” Dr. Evan Thompson explores the relationship between science and contemplative practice in the context of our current geological age of human impact on planet Earth. Using the concept of the “lifeworld” originated by the German Phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, Dr. Thompson explores how the natural sciences arose from an attempt to bypass their origin in our subjective lived experience. The global crises we now face demand that science adopt a new ethics and culture arising out of an “indigenous” world view that is cosmopolitan in the true sense of the word: We must all learn to see ourselves as citizens of a single global community.