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LeBlanc, André Robert,1967-
On hypnosis, simulation, and faith :the problem of post-hypnotic suggestion in France, 1884-1896.
Ph. D. -- University of Toronto, 2000
Ottawa :National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada,[2001]
2 microfiches
Includes bibliographical references.
<?Pub Inc> The first half of this dissertation demonstrates how the concept of dissociation originated as a solution to the problem of post-hypnotic suggestion. The second half continues with investigations into hypnosis and simulation and concludes with an analogy between hypnosis and religion. In 1884, the philosopher Paul Janet introduced the problem of post-hypnotic suggestion. Give a hypnotic subject the post-hypnotic command to return in 13 days. Awake, the subject remembers nothing yet he nonetheless fulfills the command to return. The problem then is this: how does the subject count 13 days without knowing it? The philosopher and psychologist, Pierre Janet (Paul's nephew) proposed the concept of dissociation as a solution in 1886 which is discussed in the second chapter. Pierre Janet argued that a second consciousness kept track of time outside the awareness of the subject's main consciousness. Chapter 3 presents an alternative solution to the problem: the physician Hyppolite Bernheim and the philosopher Joseph Delboeuf argued in 1886 that subjects occasionally drifted into a hypnotic state in which they were reminded of the suggestion. Chapter 4 describes Janet's attempts to argue against this explanation. The fifth chapter demonstrates a logical flaw in the concept of dissociation and introduces the idea that hypnosis may well be a form of pretending. The theme of pretending is carried on in chapters 6 and 7 in relation to the impossibility of empirically confirming or refuting simulation in hypnosis. The final two chapters build on Delboeuf's work using an analogy between hypnosis and religion. Drawing upon Pascal, it is argued that, like hypnosis, religious belief may well contain an element of pretending in the way one's faith is produced and maintained. Chapter 8 relates hypnosis to what Pascal labeled "discourse concerning the machine" ('Infini'-'rien'): the notion that custom and habit, by a machine-like process, shape human thought and belief. Chapter 9 discusses Pascal's analysis of the differences between superstition and religion and applies it to our understanding of hypnosis.
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