Evan Thompson is a philosopher and writer who works on the nature of the mind, the self, and human experience. His work combines the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, phenomenology, and Asian philosophical traditions, especially Buddhist philosophy. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and an Associate Member of the Department of Asian Studies and the Department of Psychology (Cognitive Science Group). He is an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2015), Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Harvard Univesity Press, 2007), and Colour Vision: A Study in Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Perception (Routledge Press, 1995). He is the co-author, with Francisco J. Varela and Eleanor Rosch, of The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (MIT Press, 1991; revised edition 2017). He was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto from 2005 to 2013, and held a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Science and the Embodied Mind at York University from 2002 to 2005. In 2014 he was the Numata Invited Visiting Professor at the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He has also held invited visiting appointments at the Faculty of Philosophy, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), the Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen, and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Primary Recipient Awards
At the Peter Wall Institute, Dr. Thompson will be focusing his research and writing on philosophical investigations of the human experience of dying and death. His project examines dying as a “transformative experience” that changes how you perceive yourself and your relations to others in ways you cannot fully grasp before they happen.
Dying is the ultimate transformative experience, not only in being final, inevitable, and all encompassing, but also in having fundamental significance. A consideration of dying brings an important perspective to the philosophy of death, while offering insights for physicians, nurses, hospice workers, and family members who care for dying loved ones. Dr. Thompson aims to reconnect modern philosophy to one of the key guiding impulses of ancient philosophy, which is to prepare ourselves for death, whenever it may come, and to live our lives accordingly.
Co-Principal Investigator Awards