Jonathan Shear, Ph.D.


Affiliated Associate Professor


Jonathan Shear is Affiliated Associate Professor of Philosophy at VCU, where he has taught since 1987. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley, and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow there, and a Fulbright Scholar in philosophy of science at the London School of Economics. Since the early 1960?s his work has focused on the use of meditation practices and related scientific research to expand our knowledge of human consciousness. He has published and lectured widely in North America, Europe and Asia, and was the founding Managing Editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.





The Experience of Meditation: Experts Introduce the Major Systems, editor (Paragon House, 2006).

Models of the Self, co-editor with Shaun Gallagher (Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, 1999).

The View From Within: First-Person Approaches to the Study of Consciousness, co-editor with Francisco Varela (Lawrence, KS: Imprint Academic, 1999).

Explaining Consciousness: the Hard Problem, editor (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997).

The Inner Dimension: Philosophy and the Experience of Consciousness (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1990).

Articles and Book Chapters

"Reflections on Meditation Research and Consciousness Studies," J. of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2014.

"Converging on the Self: Western Philosophy, Eastern Meditation, Scientific Research," in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Self and Consciousness, edited by Menon, Sinha and Sreekantan (Springer, 2014).

"Meditation as First-Person Methodology: Real Promise-and Problems," in Meditation: Neuroscientific Approaches and Philosophical Explanations (Studies in Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality), edited by Stefan Schmidt and Harald Walach (Springer, 2013).

"State-Enlivening and Practice-Makes-Perfect Approaches to Meditation," in Biofeedback: A Clinical Journal, Summer 2011, V. 39, No. 2.

"Eastern Approaches to Altered States of Consciousness," in Altering Consciousness: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, edited by Etzel Cardeña and Michael Winkleman (Praeger, 2011).

"Spirituality, Ethics and Inner Awareness," in Spirituality and Science of Consciousness (Kolkata, India: Vedanta Press—Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, 2011).

"Reply to Josipovic: Duality and non-duality in meditation research," (co-author with Fred Travis) in Consciousness and Cognition, V. 19, Issue 4, Dec. 2010.

"Focused Attention, Open Monitoring and Automatic Self-Transcending: Categories to Organize Meditations from Vedic, Buddhist and Chinese Traditions" (co-author with Fred Travis), in Consciousness and Cognition, V. 19, Issue 4, Dec. 2010.

"The Challenge of Success," in The Concept of Ultimate Reality (Pune, India: IFFGRPR, 2008).

"The Depths of Inner Awareness: Scientific Knowledge and Research Problems," in Consciousness: A Deeper Scientific Search (Kolkata, India: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, 2007).

"Eastern Methods of Investigating Consciousness," in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, edited by Max Velmans and Susan Schneider (Blackwell Publishing, 2007).

"Ethics, Meditation and the Development of Consciousness," in Understanding Consciousness: Recent Advances (Kolkata, India: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, 2006).

"Indian Traditions and the Emerging Science of Consciousness," in Life, Mind and Consciousness (Kolkata, India: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, 2004).

"Mysticism and Scientific Naturalism," Sophia, V. 43, No. 1, May 2004, and reprinted in Traditions of Science: Cross-cultural Perspectives, Essays in Honour of Dr. B. B. Suggarayappa, edited by Purushottama Bilimoria and M. K. Sridhar (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, in press).

"Consciousness and Reality: The Paradox of Objective Knowledge," in Rabindranath Tagore: Universality and Tradition, edited by Patrick Colm Hogan, et. al. (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003).

"Morality in the Scientific Era: Inner Awareness and Dogma-Independent Values," in Thoughts on Synthesis of Science and Religion, edited by T.D. Singh and S. Bandopadhyay (Bhaktivedanta Press: Calcutta, 2001).

"Ethics and the Experience of Happiness," in Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism, edited by G. William Barnard and Jeffrey J. Kirpal (Seven Bridges Press/Chatham House, 2001).

"Experimental Studies of Meditation and Consciousness," in Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain, edited by Diane Jonte-Pace and William Parsons (New York: Routledge, 2001).

"Pure Consciousness: Scientific Exploration of Meditation Techniques," (co-author with Ron Jevning), J. of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2-3, 1999 and reprinted in The View From Within: First-Person Approaches to the Study of Consciousness, coeditor (Lawrence, KS: Imprint Academic, 1999).

"Experiential Clarification of the Problem of Self," J. of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 4. No. 5/6, 1998, reprinted in Models of the Self, edited by Shawn Gallagher and Jonathen Shear (Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, 1999) and reprinted in Toward a Science of Consciousness III, edited by A.W. Kaszniak, D.J. Chalmers and S.R. Hameroff (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999).

"Back and forth with Huston Smith," Sufi, Autumn 1996.

"On a Culture-Independent Core Component of Self," East-West Encounters in Philosophy and Religion, edited by Ninian Smart and B. Srinivasa Murthy (Long Beach: Long Beach Publications, 1996).

"The Hard Problem: Closing the Empirical Gap," J. of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1996.

"Editor's Introduction," J. of Consciousness Studies special issue, "Explaining Consciousness: the Hard Problem," Vol. 2, No. 3, 1995.

"Mystical Knowledge?" Sufi, Autumn 1995.

"On Mystical Experiences as Empirical Support for the Perennial Philosophy," J. of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. LXII, No. 2, Summer 1994.

"Mystical Experience, Hermeneutics, and Rationality," International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. XXX, No. 4, December 1990.

"The Philosopher, the Yogi, and Enlightenment: Plato's Symposium and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras," Darshana International (International Philosophical Quarterly, India), Vol. XXX, No. 1, January 1990.

"Differential Effects of Relaxation Techniques on Trait Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis," J. of Clinical Psychology (co-author, Vol. 45, No. 6, November 1989).

"Plato, Piaget, and Maharishi on the Stages of Cognitive Development," in Piagetian Theory: Developmental Perspectives in Adult Development, Daniel W. Kee, Gerald I. Lubin, and Marie K. Paulsen, editors, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1984.

"The Experience of Pure Consciousness: A New Perspective for Theories of Self," Metaphilosophy, Vol. 14, No. 1, January 1983.

"The Universal Structures and Dynamics of Creativity," J. of Creative Behavior, Vol. 16, No. 3, Third Quarter, 1982.

"Maharishi, Plato and the TM-Sidhi Program on Innate Structures of Consciousness," Metaphilosophy, Vol. 12, No. 1, January 1981.

"The Conscious Source of Thought," J. of Creative Intelligence, Vol. 1, No. 1, January, 1972.