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8.6b. Parapsychology and Consciousness (Parapsychology and Consciousness on PhilPapers)

Atkinson, Anthony P.; Baker, I. S.; Blackmore, Susan J.; Braud, William; Burns, Jean E.; Carpenter, R. H. S.; Clarke, Christopher J. S.; Ellis, Ralph D.; Fontana, David; French, Christopher C.; Radin, D.; Schlitz, M.; Schmidt, Stefan & Velmans, Max (2005). Open Peer commentary on 'the sense of being stared at' parts 1 &. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (6):50-116.   (Google)
Augustine, Keith (2007). Does paranormal perception occur in near-death experiences? Journal of Near Death Studies 25 (4):203-236.   (Google)
Abstract: While most near-death researchers have disregarded reports of near-death experiences (NDEs) with hallucinatory features, many have sought cases of veridical paranormal perception during NDEs. But despite more than a quarter century of near-death studies, no compelling evidence that NDErs can obtain information from remote locations during their NDEs has been forthcoming. This paper, Part I of a critique of survivalist interpretations of NDEs, reviews the quality of the evidence for veridical observations during NDEs, and finds the case for veridical paranormal perception during NDEs wanting.
Augustine, Keith (2007). Near-death experiences with hallucinatory features. Journal of Near Death Studies 26 (1):3-31.   (Google)
Abstract: Though little systematic attention has been given to near-death experiences (NDEs) with clear or suggestive hallucinatory features, reports of such experiences strongly imply that NDEs are not glimpses of an afterlife. This paper, Part II of a critique of survivalist interpretations of NDEs, surveys NDEs incorporating out-of-body discrepancies, bodily sensations, encounters with living persons and fictional characters, random or insignificant memories, returns from a point of no return, hallucinatory imagery, and unfulfilled predictions. Though attempts to accommodate hallucinatory NDEs within a survivalist framework are possible, they signal a failure to take the empirical evidence against a survivalist interpretation of NDEs seriously.
Augustine, Keith (2007). Psychophysiological and cultural correlates undermining a survivalist interpretation of near-death experiences. Journal of Near Death Studies 26 (2):89-125.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper, Part III of a critique of survivalist interpretations of near-death experiences (NDEs), considers psychophysiological and cultural correlates of NDEs suggesting that such experiences are solely products of individuals' minds rather than windows into a transcendental realm. While current psychophysiological models do not fully explain out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and NDEs, several psychophysiological correlates offer promising clues about the mechanisms implicated in their production. These correlates do not definitively identify their precise causes, but strongly imply that such experiences represent internally generated fantasies rather than genuine perceptions of a transcendental environment. Additionally, stark differences in the phenomenology of NDEs from different cultures have been uncovered. Though nonWestern samples are too limited to draw anything more than tentative conclusions, the available data suggest that prototypical Western NDE motifs derive from a cultural source, consistent with the hypothesis that NDE content reflects social conditioning and personal expectation rather than the perception of an external reality.
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Bierman, Dick (2003). Does consciousness collapse the wave-packet? Mind and Matter 1 (1):45-57.   (Cited by 9 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The 'subjective reduction' interpretation of measurement in quantum physics proposes that the collapse of the wave-packet, associated with measurement, is due to the consciousness of human observers. A refined conceptual replication of an earlier experiment, designed and carried out to test this interpretation in the 1970s, is reported. Two improvements are introduced. First, the delay between pre-observation and final observation of the same quantum event is increased from a few microseconds in the original experiment to one second in this replication. Second, rather than using the final observers' verbal response as the dependent variable, his early brain responses as measured by EEG are used. These early responses cover a period during which an observer is not yet conscious of an observed event. Our results support the 'subjective reduction' hypothesis insofar as significant differences in the brain responses of the final observer are found, depending on whether or not the pre-observer has been looking at the quantum event . Alternative 'normal' explanations are discussed and rejected. It is concluded that the present results do justify further research along these lines
Bierman, Dick (1998). Do psi phenomena suggest radical dualism? In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Bierman, Dick (2001). On the nature of anamalous phenomena: Another reality between the world of subjective consciousness and the objective world of physics? In P. Van Loocke (ed.), The Physical Nature of Consciousness. John Benjamins.   (Google)
Blackmore, Susan (1992). Psychic experiences: Psychic illusions. Skeptical Inquirer 16:367-376.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Abstract: Why do so many people believe in psychic phenomena? Because they have psychic experiences. And why do they have psychic experiences? Because such experiences are an inevitable consequence of the way we think. I suggest that, like visual illusions, they are the price we pay for a generally very effective relationship with a massively complex world
Blackmore, Susan J. (1991). Psi in science. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 57:404-11.   (Google)
Blackmore, Susan J. (2001). What can the paranormal teach us about consciousness ? Skeptical Inquirer 25 (2):22-27.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Abstract: Consciousness is a hot topic. Relegated to the fringes of science for most of the twentieth century, the question of consciousness only crept back to legitimacy with the collapse of behaviourism in the 1960s and 1970s, and only recently became an acceptable term for psychologists to use. Now many neuroscientists talk enthusiastically about the nature of consciousness, there are societies and regular conferences, and some say that consciousness is the greatest challenge for twenty-first century science. Although confusion abounds, there is at least some agreement that at the heart of the problem lies the question of subjectivity - or what it’s like for _me_. As philosopher Thomas Nagel (1974) put it when he asked his famous question "What is it like to be a bat?" - if there is something it is like _for the bat_ then we can say that the bat is conscious. This is what we mean by consciousness - consciousness is private and subjective and this is why it is so difficult to understand
Blackmore, Susan J. (1998). Why psi tells us nothing about consciousness. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Also published in 1998 in S.R.Hameroff, A.W.Kaszniak and .C.Scott (Eds) _Toward a Science of_ _Consciousness II._ MIT Press. 701-707. Note that there were problems with the editing of this volume and there are some misprints. This version is correct
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Abstract: Are there relationships between consciousness and the material world? Empirical evidence for such a connection was reported in several meta-analyses of mind-matter experiments designed to address this question. In this paper we consider such meta-analyses from a statistical modeling perspective, emphasizing strategies to validate the models and the associated statistical procedures. In particular, we explicitly model increased data variability and selection mechanisms, which permits us to estimate 'selection profiles ' and to reassess the experimental effect in view of potential other effects. An application to the data pool considered in the influential meta-analysis of Radin and Nelson (1989) yields indications for the presence of random and selection effects Adjustment for possible selection is found to render the,without such an adjustment significant, experimental effect non-significant. Somewhat different conclusions apply to a subset of the data deserving separate consideration. The actual origin of the data features that are described as experimental, random, or selection effects within the proposed model cannot be clarified y our approach and remains open
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Abstract: This accessible and comprehensive overview of the work of Stanislav Grof, one of the founders of transpersonal psychology, was specifically written to acquaint...
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Abstract: possible, your investigation is unlikely ever to get off the ground), there’s no such excuse for philosophers. The philosopher should be unrestricted by fashions in thought, including the unquestioning acceptance of whatever scientific theories are currently dominant. The fact is, however, that in this field and in the philosophy of mind, many
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Abstract: Scientific progress is achieved not only by continuous accumulation of knowledge but also by paradigm shifts. These shifts are often necessitated by anomalous findings that cannot be incorporated in accepted models. Two important methodological principles regulate this process and complement each other: Ockham's Razor as the principle of parsimony and Plato's Life Boat as the principle of the necessity to 'save the appearances' and thus incorporate conflicting phenomenological data into theories. We review empirical data which are in conflict with some presuppositions of accepted mainstream science: Clinical and experimental effects of prayer and healing intention, data from telepathy, psychokinesis experiments and precognition, and anecdotal reports of macro-psychokinesis. Taken together, the now well documented possibility of these events suggests that such phenomena are anomalies that challenge some widely held beliefs in mainstream science. On the other hand, scientists often fear that by accepting the reality of these phenomena they also have to subscribe to world-models invoking ontological dualism or idealism. We suggest accepting the phenomena as real, but without questionable ontologies commonly associated with them. We outline how this might work
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