Out-of-body experiences as the origin of the concept of a 'soul '

Mind and Matter 3 (1):57-84 (2005)

Authors
Thomas Metzinger
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Abstract
Contemporary philosophical and scienti .c discussions of mind developed from a 'proto-concept of mind ',a mythical,tradition- alistic,animistic and quasi-sensory theory about what it means to have a mind. It can be found in many di .erent cultures and has a semantic core corresponding to the folk-phenomenological notion of a 'soul '.It will be argued that this notion originates in accurate and truthful .rst-person reports about the experiential content of a special neurophenomenological state-class called 'out-of-body experiences '.They can be undergone by every human being and seem to possess a culturally invariant cluster of functional and phenomenal core properties similar to the proto-concept of mind. The common causal factor in the emergence and development of the notion of the soul and the proto-concept of mind may consist in a yet to be determined set of properties realized by the human brain, underlying the cluster of phenomenal properties described in the relevant first-person reports. This hypothesis suggests that such a neurofunctional substrate ed human beings at different times, and in widely varying cultural contexts, to postulate the existence of a soul and to begin developing a theory of mind.
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References found in this work BETA

Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes.Paul M. Churchland - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.
Phenomenal Transparency and Cognitive Self-Reference.Thomas Metzinger - 2003 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (4):353-393.
The First-Person Perspective: A Test for Naturalism.Lynne Rudder Baker - 1998 - American Philosophical Quarterly 35 (4):327-348.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Full-Body Illusions and Minimal Phenomenal Selfhood.Olaf Blanke & Thomas Metzinger - 2009 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):7-13.
Self‐Representation and Perspectives in Dreams.Melanie Rosen & John Sutton - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (11):1041-1053.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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