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Origins of TSC

Tucson 2008

ABSTRACT

On18 August 1991, the Towards a Science of Consciousness conference series was born.
Known then as “The Fantastic Conscious Mind Conference” the original auspicious
assemblage of about sixty persons at the Sierra Vista, Arizona Ramada Inn Balroom that
day had great hopes that there would be future conferences to bring together the world’s
experts in consciousness to answer a question of one of the conference’s major
organizers. Dr. Gordon Olson a Sierra Vista internist had a daughter, Maria, who “. . .
one frightful day in February 1981 . . [was] suddenly thrown into a coma.” After her
persistent vegetative state for eight years, she died in 1988. During that time, Olson was
obsessed by the thought that she was “always there”. Dr. Olson, true to his dictum
“Think Positive”, as reflected on his fliers advertising the conference, had his dreams at
least partially fulfilled. Serendipitously, Olson and Drs. Stuart Hameroff, Jeremy Horne,
and William Wheeler came together to organize what they called the “pre-conference” of
Towards a Science of Consciousness”. Even at that time, numerous disciplines were
represented, ranging from mathematics, anesthesiology, philosophy, and artificial
intelligence. From April 1994, onward, the main conference has proceeded periodically,
2008 being the eight biennial meeting and still preserving the interdisciplinary approach
originally imitated in 1991. On 10 June 1994, J.K.B Sutherland announced the beginning
of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. After the U.S. National Institute of Mental
Health’s “Decade of the Brain” (1990-1999), the Towards a Science of Consciousness
conferences continue but at more sophisticated levels and with more participants. This
paper, with some photos of original documents, describes in detail the history of the
conference, the sources being original documents from the ”pre-conference” and this
author’s memory of how it formed.

History of Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference; Founders of Towards a


Science of Consciousness Conference; Origin of the Journal of Consciousness Studies;
Coma and Consciousness

Toward a Science of Consciousness 2008

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abstract per presenting author, though you may be co-author on other abstracts.

In order for an accepted submission to be included in the conference program, registration fees
must be received from the presenting author by February 15.

Dear Jeremy Horne,

Thank you for submitting an abstract to Toward a Science of Consciousness 2008. You can
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Registration ID: CON814T61615
Last Name: Horne
First Name: Jeremy
Abstract Title: How Towards a Science of Consciousness formed
Abstract: On18 August 1991, the Towards a Science of Consciousness conference series was
born. Known then as “The Fantastic Conscious Mind Conference” the original auspicious
assemblage of about sixty persons at the Sierra Vista, Arizona Ramada Inn Balroom that day
had great hopes that there would be future conferences to bring together the world’s experts in
consciousness to answer a question of one of the conference’s major organizers. Dr. Gordon
Olson a Sierra Vista internist had a daughter, Maria, who “. . . one frightful day in February
1981 . . [was] suddenly thrown into a coma.” After her persistent vegetative state for eight
years, she died in 1988. During that time, Olson was obsessed by the thought that she was
“always there”. Dr. Olson, true to his dictum “Think Positive”, as reflected on his fliers
advertising the conference, had his dreams at least partially fulfilled. Serendipitously, Olson
and Drs. Stuart Hameroff, Jeremy Horne, and William Wheeler came together to organize
what they called the “pre-conference” of Towards a Science of Consciousness”. Even at that
time, numerous disciplines were represented, ranging from mathematics, anesthesiology,
philosophy, and artificial intelligence. From April 1994, onward, the main conference has
proceeded periodically, 2008 being the eight biennial meeting and still preserving the
interdisciplinary approach originally imitated in 1991. On 10 June 1994, J.K.B Sutherland
announced the beginning of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. After the U.S. National
Institute of Mental Health’s “Decade of the Brain” (1990-1999), the Towards a Science of
Consciousness conferences continue but at more sophisticated levels and with more
participants. This paper, with some photos of original documents, describes in detail the
history of the conference, the sources being original documents from the ”pre-conference” and
this author’s memory of how it formed.
Abstract Keywords: History of Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference; Founders
of Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference; Origin of the Journal of Consciousness
Studies; Coma and Consciousness
Abstract Comments: I would like to submit this both as a conference presentation and a
poster. it would be nice if the conference participants knew the origin of Towards a Science of
Consciousness Conference. I have a number of original documents, including Gordon's
original flier announcing the conference, the Sierra Vista Herald announcement/article, and
some original papers that were presented. As well,there are a number of personal details, such
as my interactions between Dr. William Wheeler and me, the former introducing me to Dr.
Olson. It is sad that Olson (died about 2002) is gone and would like to have seen how far our
effort has come.
Abstract Submission / Modification Time: 9/3/2007 11:22:16 PM
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Registration ID: CON814T61615


Last Name: Horne
First Name: Jeremy
Email: jhorne18@earthlink.net
Registration Time: 10/9/2005 2:13:00 PM