David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (2):241-252 (2010)
Altered states of consciousness (ASC), especially hallucinatory ones, are philosophically and scientifically interesting modes of operation of the mind–brain complex. However, classical definitions of ASC seem to capture only a few common characteristics of traditionally regarded phenomena, thus lacking exact classification criteria for assessing altered and baseline states. The current situation leads to a priority problem between phenomena-based definitions and definition-based phenomena selection. In order to solve the problem, this paper introduces a self-mapping procedure that is based on a three-part analysis on certain aspects of hallucinatory altered consciousness. Starting with commonalities found in current definitions of ASC, issues with self-evaluation, sources of data, and baseline comparison are analyzed first. Next, the concept of alterations is examined with respect to temporal dynamics, change mechanisms, and mental subsystems. Finally, hallucinatory phenomena are discussed regarding various definitions, the relationship between “external” and “internal,” and the “trueness” issue of hallucinations. Conclusive to the analysis above, a technically based working definition of ASC and a stepwise operationalization procedure are also proposed.
|Keywords||Altered states of consciousness Hallucinations|
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G. W. Farthing (1992). The Psychology of Consciousness. Prentice Hall.
J. Allan Hobson (2007). Normal and Abnormal States of Consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell. 101--113.
William James (2004). The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. Simon & Schuster.
Citations of this work BETA
Vince Polito, Robyn Langdon & Jac Brown (2010). The Experience of Altered States of Consciousness in Shamanic Ritual: The Role of Pre-Existing Beliefs and Affective Factors. Consciousness and Cognition 19 (4):918--925.
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