Contents

Refereed Papers

Rocco J. Gennaro  abstract
The HOT Theory of Consciousness: Between a Rock and a Hard Place?
Carl Ginsburg     abstract
First-Person Experiments
Albert A. Johnstone & Maxine Sheets-Johnstone    abstract
Edmund Husserl: The Lectures on Transcendental Logic
Harald Walach & Stefan Schmidt     abstract
Repairing Plato's Lifeboat with Ockham's Razor: The Important Function of Research in Anomalies for Mainstream Science

Conference Report

Bill Faw   full text
Report From ICP-2004 in Beijing

Review Articles

J. Andrew Ross   full text
Roads to Reality: Penrose and Wolfram Compared
David Hodgson   full text
Goodbye to Qualia and All That

Book Reviews   full text

Peter J. Snow
Christopher D. Frith and Daniel M. Wolpert (ed.) The Neuroscience of Social Interaction
Daniel Simmons
K. Ramakrishna Rao, Consciousness Studies: Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Chris Nunn
Richard L Gregory (ed.) The Oxford Companion to the Mind
Alwyn Scott
Tim Bliss, Graham Collingridge & Richard Morris (ed.) Long-Term Potentiation:

 

ABSTRACTS

Rocco J. Gennaro

The HOT Theory of Consciousness: Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Abstract: The so-called ‘higher-order thought’ (HOT) theory of consciousness says that what makes a mental state conscious is the presence of a suitable higher-order thought directed at it (Rosenthal, 1986; 1990; 1993; 2002; 2004; Gennaro, 1996; 2004). The HOT theory has been or could be attacked from two apparently opposite directions. On the one hand, there is what Stubenberg (1998) has called ‘the problem of the rock’ which, if successful, would show that the HOT theory proves too much. On the other hand, it might also be alleged that the HOT theory does not or cannot address the so-called ‘hard problem’ of phenomenal consciousness. If so, then the HOT theory would prove too little. We might say, then, that the HOT theory is arguably between a rock and a hard place. In this paper, I critically examine these objections and defend the HOT theory against them. In doing so, I hope to show that the HOT theory, or at least some version of it, neither proves too little nor too much, but is just right. I also show that these two objections are really just two sides of the same coin, and that the HOT theory is immune from David Chalmers’ (1995; 1996) criticisms of other attempted reductionist accounts of consciousness.

Correspondence: Rocco J. Gennaro, Department of Philosophy, Indiana State University, 200 North Seventh Street, Terre Haute, IN 47809-9989, USA. Email: rocco@indstate.edu


Carl Ginsburg

First-Person Experiments

Abstract: The question asked in this paper is: How can we investigate our phenomenal experience in ways that are accurate, in principle repeatable, and produce experiences that help clarify what we understand about the processes of sensing, perceiving, moving, and being in the world? This sounds like an impossible task, given that introspection has so often in scientific circles been considered to be unreliable, and that first-person accounts are often coloured by mistaken ideas about what and how we are experiencing. The first-person experiments I suggest are different from experiments done in the psychology laboratory in that there is no narrowing down of the experiments to looking at a singular aspect of a question, and that they are to be carried out in most instances in a natural or specially structured environment without strict task controls or statistical experimental design. There is no intent to replace formal second- and third-person investigation, but to use a phenomenological approach to conjoin with hard research, and to suggest ways of awareness training that can enhance the skills of researchers.
 I take as a model an informal phenomenological approach for experimentation. I also suggest that it is possible through directing and broadening the attention process to turn consciousness towards what is non-conscious or unattended to in order to develop an improved sensory awareness and an ability to be open to experiencing without prejudging and without expectations. The idea is to go back to experience without first creating a theoretical stance from which to interpret what happens. I conclude with some other examples of this approach

Carl Ginsburg, Zum Quellenpark 38, D-65812 Bad Soden, Germany. Email: csginsburg@hotmail.com


Albert A. Johnstone & Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

Edmund Husserl: A Review of the Lectures on Transcendental Logic

Abstract: The centerpiece of the Analyses is a translation from the German of notes for a series of lectures given by phenomenologist Edmund Husserl in the early twenties, which is to say some eighty years ago. Husserl designated the topic of the lectures ‘transcendental logic’. In this context, the term, ‘transcendental’, is not to be understood in some mystical sense, but rather in a Kantian sense: pertaining to the conditions of possibility of experience. Likewise, the term, ‘logic’, is not to be taken in the narrow sense of formal logic, but rather in the very general sense it had for Platonic dialectic: a concern with normative guidelines and critical assessment of the possibility of truth. The topic of the lectures is succinctly characterized by Husserl as ‘a universal theory of science, and at the same time, a theory of science in principle,’ where the latter means ‘the science of the a priori of all sciences as such’

A. A. Johnstone & M. Sheets-Johnstone, Dept of Philosophy, 1295 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1295, USA. Email: bertjohnst@yahoo.com;  msj@darkwing.uoregon.edu


Harald Walach and Stefan Schmidt

Repairing Plato’s Life Boat with Ockham’s Razor: The Important Function of Research in Anomalies

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.

Dr. Harald Walach & Dr. Stefan Schmidt, University Hospital Freiburg, Samueli Institute European Office, Hugstetter Str. 55, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.
Email: harald.walach@uniklinik-freiburg.de; stefan.schmidt@uniklinik-freiburg.de


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