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What We Can Learn about Consciousness from Altered States of Consciousness

Imants Baruss


Philosophers and other scholars sometimes take their own experience to be the measure of reality in theories of consciousness. The purpose of this paper is to present some data from altered states of consciousness that need to be taken into account in any adequate interpretations. At the outset, the four common definitions of the term consciousness are clarified and the spectrum from materialist to transcendent beliefs about consciousness and reality held by consciousness researchers is presented. This is followed by a list of alterations of consciousness. In the substance of the paper, three salient issues are presented: feelings of reality, anomalous information transfer, and somatic plasticity. In each case, some of the implications for theories of consciousness are discussed.


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ISSN: 2153-8212