Getting things in focus
In order to promote clear thinking about relevant data, C-FAR is developing a series of research tools. These include:
- Frameworks: a project aimed at developing a standardised vocabulary for ontological claims (so we can compare points of difference
or agreement between different perspectives), and a standardised methodology for separating the development of ontological models from scientific
theories, so that the importance of key evidence can be highlighted in an appropriate way. This project has given rise to the
founding of the Centre for Systems Philosophy, which will develop it in the context of Systems Philosophy.
- Lexscien: an online library hosting
full-text-searchable copies of peer-reviewed journals dedicated to
controversies in science and the humanities. See the Library of Exploratory Science (Lexscien).
- Kuhnexus Casebase: a database of the best cases in each class of anomalous phenomenon (not yet online).
Towards a more inclusive cosmology
Our research is leading us towards the elaboration of a trans-disciplinary
perspective in which we understand the real world to extend beyond what is
merely physical, but not to incorporate causes,
processes and beings that are beyond comprehension or analysis (thus still natural). In order to refine this
perspective we are developing several component theories and models, including:
- A metaphysical model representing a naturalistic perspective that
accomodates the reality of mental and spiritual phenomena without
reducing them to by-products of physical phenomena.
- A model of persons in which minds are real existents distinctly from
bodies, but are part of nature and therefore fully accessible to study by the
methods of science and rational enquiry.
- An integrated framework for analysing the relationship between spiritual, psychic and mystical experiences.
The theoretical models we are developing make specific predictions about the
nature of the mind-body and person-world relationships which, if valid, might
lead to new ways of approaching spiritual development, and new ways of
treating or supporting people in mentally challenging situations. Several
projects are in planning to test these predictions and develop the potential
of these new models. These include:
- The potential of spiritual practices to prevent or mitigate the progress of neurological degeneration.
- Therapeutic techniques for stimulating the release of specific beneficial endogenous compounds, e.g. those that have anti-psychotic
properties or that can interrupt addictive behaviour.
- New ways of managing the way in which stress impairs emotional judgement.
- New ways of understanding and supporting people with autistic spectrum disorders.