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Beyond Plato? Toward a Science of Alterations of Consciousness Etzel Cardena, Ph. D. Thorsen Professor, Psychology, Lund University, Sweden Etzel Cardena,

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Presentation on theme: "Beyond Plato? Toward a Science of Alterations of Consciousness Etzel Cardena, Ph. D. Thorsen Professor, Psychology, Lund University, Sweden Etzel Cardena,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Beyond Plato? Toward a Science of Alterations of Consciousness Etzel Cardena, Ph. D. Thorsen Professor, Psychology, Lund University, Sweden Etzel Cardena, Ph. D. Thorsen Professor, Psychology, Lund University, Sweden

2 The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. (Whitehead, 1979, p. 39).

3 Problem 1  1) States of consciousness are not the same as induction procedures  There are no “ hypnotic ” or “ meditation ” states  1) States of consciousness are not the same as induction procedures  There are no “ hypnotic ” or “ meditation ” states

4 PCI as a function of state and hypnotizability

5 Problem 2  1) Failing to clearly describe or even define the state referred to.  Just what is meant by ”trance” or the ”unconscious”?  1) Failing to clearly describe or even define the state referred to.  Just what is meant by ”trance” or the ”unconscious”?

6 TABLE 1 The senses of trance (Based on Cardeña, 1990) Oxford English Dictionary (1st ed.) sense: 1. “Great apprehension or dread of coming evil”; to pass, depart (esp. from life), to die; “to benumb or be numbed by fear or cold; to pass over, cross” 2. “A state of extreme apprehension of dread; a state of doubt or suspense.” 3. “A non-conscious or insensible condition, a swoon, a faint; in mod. Use, a state characterized by a more or less prolonged suspension of consciousness and inertness to stimulus; a cataleptic or hypnotic condition.” 4. “An intermediate state btween sleeping and waking; half conscious or half-awake condition; a stunned or dazed state.” 5. “A state of mental abstraction from external things; absorption, exaltation, rapture, ecstasy.” 6. (an attribute in such compounds as) “trance- coma, trance-medium, trance-sleep, trance- state, trance-bound, like” Representative quotations from the psychological or anthropological literature None “etat d’exaltation nerveuse” possession crises (Rouget, 1980; a “wondering” (Shor 1965) Various anesthetic and amnestic phenomena; unresponsiveness to stimulaion (Henney, 1974; Bermer, 1983) “regional or non- connective consciousness” (O’Shaughnessy, 1972); Shor’s Generalization Reality Orientation “a sleeplike state such as that of deep hypnosis” (Gowan, 1975) The trait of absorption (Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974); religious ecstasy (Rouget, 1980)

7 Problem 3  1) States are not fixed, unchangeable entities. FDynamic variations within the same state.  1) States are not fixed, unchangeable entities. FDynamic variations within the same state.

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9 Problem 4  1) Even within the same state there are vast individual differences.  Imagery in the ordinary state  The experience of light in hypnosis  1) Even within the same state there are vast individual differences.  Imagery in the ordinary state  The experience of light in hypnosis

10 Problem 5  1) Traits and states are interactive processes

11 Trait x procedure interaction

12 Problem 6 FLack of a good taxonomy of states of consciousness

13 Fischer’s cartography

14 Where do we go from here?  Some general problems in the field  proceedings ”publications”  ignoring other fields  Some general problems in the field  proceedings ”publications”  ignoring other fields

15  Demand specific definitions and descriptions and  Do not accept inductions as ASoC  Demand specific definitions and descriptions and  Do not accept inductions as ASoC

16  Integrate nomothetic and idiographic approaches

17  Engage in multi-disciplinary research and remain engaged with other areas and  Contribute to an empirically- based, multidisciplinary taxonomy of ASoC  Engage in multi-disciplinary research and remain engaged with other areas and  Contribute to an empirically- based, multidisciplinary taxonomy of ASoC


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