Conference on the Language of Mental Life in Telluride, CO, July of 2010.
The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University has announced a conference on the Language of Mental Life scheduled for July 7-9, 2010 during which western scientists will meet with Buddhist scholars to create a lexicon for better understanding the key terms of mental life. In the past few decades, improvements in neuro-imaging tools have led to the expansion of the fields of cognitive and affective science. One aspect of this development has been the interface with Buddhist contemplative tradition, which has a long history of systematic enquiry into the nature and functions of the human mind.
Together with this scientific enquiry, the Buddhist contemplative tradition has also developed a series of contemplative practices, a kind of mental training exercises, aimed at development and training of specific qualities of the human mind. CCARE’s conference in Telluride brings together western scientists with eastern scholars to develop the key terms associated with the human mind, which will aid in the development of contemplative practices.
Twelve scientists and scholars of different disciplines will gather in Telluride to brainstorm and discuss the taxonomy of their mental language and its development, along with how the key mental terms are defined and applied. A committee will then assemble a list of key terms to be discussed and refined over the course of the conference. The results will be made available to scholars and the public as an online lexicon.
The conference is being sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, without whom this endeavor would not be possible. The Fetzer Institute is committed to creating and supporting projects to engage with people and spread knowledge about how individuals can be more loving and forgiving in daily life, and showing how to use the power of love and forgiveness to serve as healing forces in a divided world. CCARE is very grateful for the generous support of the Fetzer institute.
CCARE is an initiative within the Stanford Institute of Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences bringing together a multi-disciplinary team that includes psychologists, social scientists, neuroscientists and contemplatives from a number of traditions to rigorously examine the social, moral and neural bases of compassion and altruism and methods to cultivate such behaviors.