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2014 - Volume 35, Number 4, Autumn

Conscious States of Dreaming
Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

The purpose of this paper is to draw analogies between dreaming and quantum states of the mind and also to make inferences about the relationship between dreaming states, waking states, and memory. That dreaming is intrinsically associated with memory has been an opinion asserted by many researchers including Nielsen and Stenstrom (2005), Fosse, Fosse, Hobson, and Stickgold (2003), and Lee (2010). However, if dreaming is consciously recollected it must be that memory is also active at the time of dreaming, and if this is so, then the use of memory from dreaming must be associated with consciousness in the waking state. If a concept of consciousness is conceived as following from a layering of human perception, cognition, and physiological experience, then the brain may be understood as having the potential to produce quantum states — indeed the complexity of such brain states may make the experience of consciousness possible. The qualia of thoughts and consciousness, such as those experienced when dreams are recalled, can be likened to fluctuations in quantum states of the mind. Dreaming seems ephemeral yet may have a survival function.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Luke Strongman, Ph. D., Social Sciences, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Private Bag 31914, Lower Hutt, 5040, New Zealand. Email: Luke.Strongman@OpenPolytechnic.ac.nz

Higher-Order Thoughts and the Unity of Consciousness
Booth University College

Rosenthal is perhaps best known for his higher-order thought theory of consciousness, but he has also expanded his theory to account for the unity of consciousness. His account posits two distinguishable mental mechanisms. I argue that, although both mechanisms may serve to unify consciousness in certain ways or to some degree, they are not sufficient to account for all of the different ways in which consciousness is unified. Thus, Rosenthal’s account fails as a general account of conscious unity.

Correspondance concerning this article should be addressed to Lowell Friesen, Ph.D., Philosophy Department, Booth University College, 447 Webb Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3B 2P2. Email: lowellfriesen@outlook.com

Expansion of the Concept of Mental Disorder in the DSM–5
McKendree University

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) revision process has been systematically biased toward expanding diagnostic criteria to become more inclusive, but research has yet to determine if the DSM–5 shows signs of the same bias. In this study, 83 disorders revised between the DSM–IV–TR and DSM–5 received codes based on whether the diagnostic criteria conceptually became more inclusive by allowing more individuals to be diagnosed or more exclusive by allowing fewer individuals to be diagnosed. Results showed that more disorders (36%) shifted toward inclusivity than toward exclusivity (25%). Also, seven out of 10 types of DSM revisions showed a net shift toward inclusivity. These results indicate that expansion of the concept of mental disorder has continued with the DSM–5.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Guy A. Boysen, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, McKendree University, 701 College Rd., Lebanon, Illinois 62254. Email: gaboysen@mckendree.edu

Intentionality and the Aristotelian–Thomistic View of Concepts
University of Alberta, James M. Stedman, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Curtis Hancock, Rockhurst University,  and Christina L. Gagné, University of Alberta

In this paper we describe the problem of intentionality for modern theories of concepts and propose that taking an Aristotelian–Thomistic (A–T) approach to concepts helps to alleviate this problem. We begin by describing some recent problems within the psychological literature on concepts that might lead one to adopt an A–T approach to concepts (see Spalding and Gagné, 2013). We then discuss Quine’s dilemma of intentionality and show how that dilemma plays out across a number of possible approaches to philosophy and psychology including psycho-functionalism, the current default philosophy of psychology. We then describe how the A–T approach to concepts deals with the problem of intentionality and suggest that it may provide a better way of thinking about intentionality than other modern approaches. We end by discussing some possible objections to the approach. We show that the A–T approach is, perhaps, surprisingly compatible with other recent work in psychology and that taking this approach to concepts and intentionality does not introduce Cartesian problems of dualism into modern psychology.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Thomas L. Spalding, University of Alberta, Department of Psychology, P-217 Biological Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9. Email: spalding@ualberta.ca

Book Review

Conservatism and Pragmatism in Law, Politics, and Ethics
Book Author: Seth Vannatta. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 296 pages, $95.00 hardcover.
Reviewed by Luke Philip Plotica, 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Seth Vannatta’s aim in Conservatism and Pragmatism is to “unsettl[e] current discourse and ideological confusion by presenting a broad comparison of two traditions” of thought and practice, with an eye towards synthesizing their respective insights and strengths. This project springs from the author’s sense that the various and conflicting academic and popular characterizations of conservatism and pragmatism — treating them at times as dispositions, at other times as programs or ideologies — have left both in need of thoughtful reconstruction and clarification. While Vannatta is not alone in seeking to map the souls of conservatism and pragmatism, his effort to bring the two into systematic, mutually-informing conversation is distinctive and valuable.

Correspondence concerning this review should be addressed to Luke Philip Plotica, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 526 Major Williams Hall (0130), 220 Stanger Street, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061. Email: luke.plotica@vt.edu


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