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DOI

10.24972/ijts.2017.36.2.136

Abstract

Taylor has responded to critiques of his soft perennialism model in relationship to what he has called awakening experiences. The fact that some individuals have this type of experience away from the context of religion or spirituality, according to soft perennialism, is explained by a sort of landscape of experience representing the diverse ways in which one may engage with and experience this essential beingness. While this inspiring vision could possibly be true, just as numerous other speculations about ultimate reality might be true; however, the evidence advanced in support of soft perennialism notion is not valid in the context of psychology, or of any scientific endeavor. Taylor's claims that his metaphysical schema is at least partly evidence-based appears to stem from an overly philosophical view of science and a misunderstanding of the nature of valid scientific evidence. As such, soft perennialism is not a psychological theory, but functions more as a New Age spiritual vision. Given that perennialist visions such as Wilber's have received long and careful scrutiny within the transpersonal field, and now play a reduced role, a sober assessment is that perennialist models belong more to the field's past than to its future. At the same time, Taylor's empirical research into a particular type of developmental transformation may contribute importantly.

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