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Tall Tales about the Mind and BrainSeparating fact from fiction$
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Sergio Della Sala

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.001.0001

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The neurology of the weird: brain states and anomalous experience

The neurology of the weird: brain states and anomalous experience

(p.314) Chapter 19 The neurology of the weird: brain states and anomalous experience
Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain

Barry L. Beyerstein

Oxford University Press

The doctrine of concordance is so ingrained in folk psychology that apparent violations are apt to evoke the feeling that something supernatural has happened. This chapter aims to show that, within the cracks in the doctrine of concordance, there can be found plausible naturalistic explanations for a variety of unusual mental phenomena. It argues that a variety of mental states that occultists consider proof of alternate planes of reality and awesome psychic powers are better explained as unusual but not necessarily pathological states of the brain. These states are experienced as unusually vivid images that are often accompanied by strong emotional content and the feeling that they are caused and directed by powerful external forces. The anomalous states of consciousness discussed in this chapter will probably remain the occultists' best hope for sustaining their belief in supernatural realms beyond the reach of science.

Keywords:   brain states, concordance, occultists, folk psychology, mental phenomena, consciousness

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