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Consciousness and cognition beyond the body: Functionalist cognitive science and the possibility of out-of-body experiences and reincarnation

Journal/Book: J Amer Soc Psychical Res. 1996; 90: 5 West 73RD Street, New York, NY 10023. Amer Soc Psychical Res Inc. 202-220.

Abstract: Two pillars upon which contemporary cognitive science stands are functionalism and the computer metaphor: both functionalism and the computer metaphor suggest that mental states result from computational processes and that different types of structures (e.g., biological neural networks or silicon chips) may run identical programs. Given this relative independence of mental states from physical structure, it should be possible to transfer a program (and the cognitive processes that occur when that program is executed) from one physical structure (e.g., a biological body) into a second physical structure (e.g., a second biological body or artificially constructed computer). This suggests that mental states may be transferred between different types of structures, and thus the possible existence of paranormal phenomena involving the occurrence of consciousness and other cognitive processes outside of the original biological body (e.g., out-of-body experiences and reincarnation) is consistent with contemporary cognitive theories.

Note: Article VS-CARD TL Hubbard, Texas Christian Univ, Dept Psychol, FT Worth, TX 76129 USA

Keyword(s): PSYCHOLOGY

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