Volume 23, 1998
Survival and Diminished Consciousness
This paper represents an attempt to formulate an altemative naturalistic account of alleged, but well-documented, cases of medium telepathy to rival variants of the so-called Super-ESP hypothesis. The attempt proceeds by extrapolation from an analogy between contemporary criteria and methods for determining the point of death and those employed a century ago, a difference which is a matter of kind, and not one merely of degree. It is argued (1) that the suggested hypothesis of “diminished consciousness” is logically possible and no more empirically improbable than Super-ESP, and (2) that there is a genuine sense in which its empirical standing is much better established insofar as it lends itself more readily than Super-ESP to the test of falsifiabiIity. In a way, this could be read as investing Kant’s metaphysical hypothesis of diminution of consciousness with empirical content.