Vol. 40, Numbers 3 and 4, Summer and Autumn 2019

CHANging Consciousness Epistemically (CHANCE): An Empirical Method to
Convert the Subjective 
Content of Consciousness into Scientific Data
Daisuke H. Tanaka and Tsutomu Tanabe, Tokyo Medical and Dental University

The content of consciousness (cC) constitutes an essential part of human life and is at the very heart of the hard problem of consciousness. The cC of a person (e.g., study participant) has been examined indirectly by evaluating the person’s behavioral reports, bodily signs, or neural signals. However, the measures do not reflect the full spectrum of the person’s cC. In this paper, we define a method, called “CHANging Consciousness Epistemically” (CHANCE), to consciously experience a cC that would be identical to that experienced by another person, and thus directly know the entire spectrum of the other’s cC. In addition, the ontologically subjective knowledge about a person’s cC may be considered epistemically objective and scientific data. The CHANCE method comprises two empirical steps: (1) identifying the minimally sufficient, content-specific neural correlates of consciousness (mscNCC) and (2) reproducing a specific mscNCC in different brains.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tsutomu Tanabe, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan. Email: t-tanabe.mphm@tmd.ac.jp

Extended Passive/Active Duality
Eric Lindell, New York City

A structural duality of passive and active is found to characterize consciousness (as subjective experience and volitional agency, respectively) and physics (as matter and energy, respectively). To rule out coincidence, this duality is sought and found to characterize a third metaphysical domain, computation (as data and algorithm, respectively). Also to argue against coincidence, a conceptual interrelatedness among the three passives is found to exist among the three actives, as follows. Matter contains data per subjective observer’s interpretation; energy expenditures execute algorithms per volitional agent’s intention.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eric Lindell, 23 Lexington Avenue #633, New York, New York 10010. Email: EricLindellNyc@gmail.com

Animals Suffer Too — A Response to Akhtar’s  “Animal Pain and Welfare:
Can Pain Sometimes Be Worse for 
Them than for Us?”
Sam S. Rakover, Haifa University

In her chapter, Akhtar (2011) suggests that animals experience worse physical pain than humans because animals are not endowed with self-consciousness or with consciousness of the passage of time. In this article, I dispute this idea. Instead, I develop a fear/pain criterion of rational behavior that reveals that rats do behave rationally whereas humans in many cases do not. A human applies his or her higher intellectual capability such that at times it increases suffering and at times it decreases suffering.

Correspondence pertaining to this article should be addressed to Sam S. Rakover, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel 31905. Email: rakover@psy.haifa.ac.il

Thorndike’s Valuations Revisited
Tracy B. Henley, Texas A & M University – Commerce and Stephen T. Paul, Robert Morris University

In the early 1930s, Thorndike asked a variety of participants to estimate how much money (paid in cash) they would require to suffer a variety of pains (e.g., the worst headache or toothache you have ever had), deprivations (e.g., have all your teeth pulled out), frustrations (e.g., have to live all the rest of your life in Iceland), and repulsive acts (e.g., eat a quarter pound of cooked human flesh). The present study was performed to determine if and how the relative importance of these valuations has changed since Thorndike’s original work. Although a few curious differences obtain, the general pattern of results is largely consistent with Thorndike’s findings — people report they would require outlandish compensation.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tracy Henley, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, Commerce, Texas 75429. Email: tracy.henley@tamuc.edu

Quantum Physics and the Future of Psychology
Daniel M. Campagne, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)

Quantum theory is still novel in physics and new findings are regularly reported. The theory affirms that the atomic and subatomic universe consists of quanta: individual particles. Quantum theory coexists with traditional continuum physics, which posits gradual differences that are interpreted in a dichotomous manner, similar to diagnostics in psychology. The consequences of a quantized universe are revealing for understanding life, determining what happens inside living beings on the subatomic level, and how this affects consciousness and behavior. Hard-core evidence as to a relationship between quantum aspects and consciousness has been forthcoming. However, present theories that extrapolate theoretical insights from quantum physics to real-world actions, specifically psychological science, remain speculative and controversial. I argue that psychologists need to have a basic knowledge of quantum mechanics and be familiar with quantum terminology and its meaning. Consciousness theories, in a growing number, describe possible quantum effects on mind and behavior, which indicate a role in psychopathology. Any proposed “quantum treatments” require further critical evaluation before clinical use is warranted.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Daniel M. Campagne at Faculty of Psychology, Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatments, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, 10 Calle Juan del Rosal, 28040 Madrid, Spain. Email: dmcampagne@gmail.com

Critical Notice

How Chance, Environment, and Genes Determine Neurodevelopment
D.V. M. Bishop, University of Oxford

Book Title: Innate: How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are.
Book Author: Kevin J. Mitchell. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2018, 293 pages, $29.95 hardcover

Most of us are perfectly comfortable hearing about biological bases of differences between species, but studies of biological bases of differences between people can make us uneasy. This can create difficulties for the scientist who wants to do research on the way genes influence neurodevelopment: if we identify genetic variants that account for individual differences in brain function, then it may seem a small step to concluding that some people are inherently more valuable than others. And indeed in 2019 we have seen calls for use of polygenic risk scores to select embryos for potential educational attainment (Parens, Appelbaum, and Chung, 2019). There has also been widespread condemnation of the first attempt to create a genetically modified baby using CRISPR technology (Normile, 2018), with the World Health Organization (2019) responding by setting up an advisory committee to develop global standards for governance of human genome editing.

Correspondence for this article should be addressed to Professor D. V. M. Bishop, University of Oxford, Department of Experimental Psychology, Anna Watts Building, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG, United Kingdom. Email: dorothy.bishop@psy.ox.ac.uk

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