Noetic Health Institute
Arthur Smith, Ph.D., Director
(949) 257-2718

Home Page
Site Search
Contact Us


Writings and Publications

Dr. Smith's published writings are available for reading here with your Web browser and for viewing, downloading,  and printing as PDF e-books. A summary of each publication appears below in alphabetical order by title. At the end of each summary are hyperlink buttons to view the document from your Web browser or to view and download it as a PDF e-book. The PDF e-books require Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® to view, print, or download, but they download and print much better and more easily than the HTML Web pages. We suggest using the PDF format, if you can.

Note: What is required is Acrobat Reader only. It is not necessary to have Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader®, although it will probably also work. To download a free copy of Acrobat Reader®, go to Adobe Systems Web site at:

For more specific instructions on downloading and printing PDF eBooks and obtaining Acrobat Reader®, click on the following hyperlink.

Downloading and Printing Instructions

It’s About Time: Reframing the Context of the Mind-body Debate
(Draft Version)

To be presented as a poster abstract at the 2008 Conference "Towards a Science of Consciousness," Tucson, AZ, USA, April 8 – 11, 2008. Presented here for pre-submission peer review.


Human experience is both dualistic and monistic. It is monistic in that everything is experience, but dualistic in that it involves both knower and known. Since Socrates, an axiom of Western philosophy has been that rational discussion begins with defining what that subject matter is. We could say that consciousness (or at least ordinary human consciousness) is experience as a knower-self (noesis) that experiences known-others (noema). Both are essential aspects of experience. Without the noesis, consciousness would be unconscious. Without the noema it would be conscious of nothing, i.e., also unconscious. Thus human experience is noetically dualistic in its distinction of knower and known, but ontologically monistic in being all experience.

In that sense, empirical science itself, even when it studies distant galaxies, is part of the “science of consciousness,” because it can study only phenomena in consciousness. However, not everyone would call this a “science of consciousness.” Some want a science of the knower without reference to the known, and this is where it gets tricky. As soon as we make consciousness an object of study, it becomes the known, and the people studying it, the knowers, and an infinite regress of self-reference ensues.

One way to circumvent this paradox is to deny the dualistic nature of consciousness in some form of monism, usually by explaining away one side of the dualism in terms of the other. With idealism, matter, the noema, is explained away as a figment of the mind. With materialism or epiphenomenalism, the noesis is explained as an effect or property of matter. A few have embraced the monism of panpsychism or panexperientialism to avoid having to deny one side of the dualism or the other, but most find the claim that all knowns are also knowers implausible. Meanwhile, others can accept none of the above and stubbornly defend dualism, typically in its Cartesian form of mental and physical substances existing independently.

In this essay, I argue that there is a better way. First, we accept that ordinary experience is noetically dualistic but ontologically monistic. We drop the Cartesian dualism of two substances with no common attributes and replace it with a dualism of grammatical time, in which the knower is first person, singular, and present tense, and the known is third person, plural, and past tense. Under this model, brain activity is not the knower, but that which is known most immediately.

We also stop attempting to reduce the knower to the known, as in reducing the knower to brain activity, or vice versa. But there is still much to be learned about conscious from studying it. Both neuroimaging and controlled studies of introspection can tell us much about the ways consciousness works.

PDF of full text of first draft.


Outcomes of a Mind-Body Healing Program for Chronic Back Pain with No Distinct Structural Pathology: A Case Series of Patients Diagnosed and Treated as Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS)

This paper was published in the Sep/Oct 2007 issue (Vol. 13 no. 5, pp. 26 – 35) of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. An abstract of the article is given below. To view the full text of the article, click on the article title above, or click here. (Note: You will need to have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader installed on your system to read the journal. To obtain Adobe® Acrobat®, if you do not have it, visit

© Copyright Notice: This article is the sole copyright of  Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. The full text of the article has been made available here with permission from the publisher for the personal use of our Web visitors. Any other reproduction of this article by any means is subject to applicable copyright law. To visit the Alternative Therapies Web site, click on the publication title in the paragraph above, or click here.


Context: Chronic, nonspecific back pain is a ubiquitous problem that has frustrated both physicians and patients. Some have suggested that it is time for a "paradigm shift" in treating it. One of them is John Sarno, MD, of New York University's Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation, who has argued for this in 4 books and several journal publications. We believe that a mind-body approach is more effective and involves much less risk and expense than conventional approaches in appropriately diagnosed cases.

Objective: To determine if a mind-body treatment program addressing a presumed psychological etiology of persistent back pain merits further research.

Design: Case series outcome study.

Setting: Single physician's office in metropolitan Los Angeles.

Patients: Fifty-one patients with chronic back pain, diagnosed with tension myositis syndrome, a diagnosis for "functional" back pain and treated in the principal investigator's office in 2002 and 2003.

Interventions: A program of office visits; written educational materials, a structured workbook (guided journal), educational audio CDs, and, in some cases, individual psychotherapy.

Main Outcome Measures: Pain intensity (visual analog scale scores), quality of life (RAND SF-12), medication usage, and activity level (questionnaires). Follow-up was at least 3 to 12 months after treatment.

Results: Mean VAS scores decreased 52% for "average" pain (P<.0001), 35% for "worst" pain (P<.0001), and 65% for "least" pain (P<.0001). SF-12 Physical Health scores rose >9 units (P=.005). Medication usage decreased (P=.0008). Activity levels increased (P=.03). Participants aged >47 years and in pain for >3 years benefited most. (Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(5):26-35.)


The Power of Thought to Heal
An Ontology of Personal Faith

A Doctoral Dissertation Submitted to and Approved by the Religion Department Faculty at the Claremont Graduate University, 1998


This dissertation discusses the philosophical issues involved with psychosomatic healing. It attempts to establish two theses. The first is that psychosomatic healing is a very real, if not common, phenomenon. The second is that it is also a natural process, i.e., it need not involve any supernatural Divine intervention. If it involves God's action at all, then God is acting through natural processes. Evidence from numerous sources, such as the placebo effect, the new science of psychoneuroimmunology, scientific studies and experiments, and historical events, is used to support the first thesis. Although this evidence strongly supports the proposition that thoughts, attitudes and beliefs can significantly affect health, it tells us nothing about the interaction involved, if any, between the mind and the brain.

The apparent mystery of psychosomatic healing can be traced to two underlying philosophical enigmas: the mind-body relationship and efficient causation as real influence, neither of which can be resolved empirically. An overview of the current mind-body debate in contemporary philosophy is presented, in which the dualists and materialists, the two major contenders in this debate, are shown to have succeeded in refuting each other. Accordingly, we must reject both positions. The idealist alternative, the prevailing paradigm among advocates of mental healing, is also examined, and it too is shown to be inadequate.

The apparent mystery of mental healing, as well as the presumption that it must somehow be supernatural, are both attributed to modern philosophy's attempt to understand efficient causation and the mind-body relationship in terms of substance-and-attribute thinking. To understand either efficient causation in general, or mind-body interaction in particular, we must change the context of the discussion from one of substance and attribute to one of process and creativity. Whitehead's philosophical model, in that it addresses this point directly, is therefore an excellent starting point in unraveling the mystery of psychosomatic healing.

Display PDF E-book for reading, downloading, or printing. (Requires Adobe® Acrobat Reader®.)

Display in Web browser for on-line reading.

Readers' Comments

"Your treatment of healing's mental aspects remain among the best I have encountered."

— Peter Van Tyle
Internet Reader, New York Chiropractic College

"I have read your Disstertation: The Power of Thought to Heal: An Ontology ofPersonal Faith and found it quite illuminating. I have since made its URL available to our students, but would like to ask you permission to keep a copy on our own website."

— Salvatore S. Gambacorta
Internet Reader, Order of Apothecaries of Australia

"This is just a short note to say how much I enjoyed reading your PhD. dissertation, The Power of Thought to Heal....  I have recently been developing an interest in 'metaphysical healing,' and am interested in accounts for which the scientific method is applied. The roots of my interest lie no doubt in the fact that I was brought up in the Christian Science religion.  I am a theoretical physicist by training, hence the application of rigorous scientific practice is important."

— Phil Jones
Internet Reader

Articles in Peer-reviewed Medical Journals...

Unsnarling the CAM Knot:
Myths, Misconceptions, and Recommendations about Science and Philosophy in Integrative Medicine

Published in Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 2004, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 85 – 97.

Copyright Notice

This article is published in Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, © copyright Open Mind Journals Ltd (2004). OMJ is the only authorized source. All copying of this article including placing on another website requires the written permission of the copyright owner.

This article has been made available here by permission of the copyright holder under the conditions stated above.


The debate over integrative medicine is fraught with intellectual inconsistencies and misconceptions, some of which it simply inherited from Western philosophy. Ambiguities exist in the terms ‘conventional medicine’, ‘complementary/alternative medicine (CAM)’ and even ‘science’. Although these issues can be resolved fairly easily with a little clear thinking, there are at least two more substantive problems: (1) Does the scientific method really favour conventional medicine over CAM? Although science does not favour drugs and surgery per se, it does favour Newtonian science, on which these modalities are based; (2) Do we want to discourage all patients from using any modality that has not passed rigorous scientific tests? The author suggests following the recommendations of New England Journal of Medicine editors Angell and Kassirer in dispensing with the conventional/CAM dichotomy. He suggests replacing it with a 7-tiered grading scheme of all modalities based on how well their safety and effectiveness are proven.

Display in Web browser for on-line reading.

HMOs Would Be Wise To Investigate Alternative Ways To Improve Health

Published in Managed Care, January 2004.

This article suggests that "health plans" such as HMOs, PPOs and other managed care organizations begin making serious investments in developing  mind-body medicine for two reasons: 1) It would effect a tremendous cost saving for them over time, and 2) they are ideally organized and positioned to take a leading role in in this area.

Go to publisher's site and display online (in a separate browser window).

Back Pain as a Distraction Pain Syndrome:
A Window to a Whole New Dynamic in Integrative Medicine

This paper, written jointly by David Schechter, MD and Dr. Smith, was published in the August 2005 issue of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, under the sponsorship of the Seligman Medical Institute (SMI). It has been reprinted as a page on SMI's Web site with permission from the publisher. The paper abstract is given below. To view the full text, click on the title heading above, or click here to go to the appropriate page on the SMI site.

Copyright Notice

This article is published in Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 2(1), August 2005, 3–8, © copyright Open Mind Journals Limited, 2005. OMJ is the only authorised source. All copying of this article including placing on another website requires the written permission of the copyright owner.


One of the most intractable and expensive problems facing modem medicine today is chronic, nonspecific back pain. The current approach, which attributes the pain to structural problems, is invasive, expensive and not very effective. Based on this fact, along with a growing body of clinical and circumstantial evidence, we believe that it may be time for a paradigm shift in diagnosis and treatment, in which the problem is treated in an integrative fashion as more psychosomatic than structural. Although, in our conception, the pain is both real and 'physical', in the sense that it is experienced physically and may involve functional alterations in the affected tissues, we present a rationale that melds the purely 'physical' and purely 'psychological' conceptions of pain into an integrated model that is clinically significant. We believe that the ultimate reason for the persistence of the pain is in the mind/brain or subconscious. This creates or perpetuates the pain in order to distract attention from emotions that are too threatening for the individual to address consciously, such as anger, rage, grief or anxiety, hence the term 'distraction pain syndrome'. We further suggest that a well controlled clinical trial, coupled with brain imaging studies, could corroborate or refute the promising results of the retrospective clinical studies we have conducted to date.

Long-Term Outcome of Back Pain Patients Treated by a Psychologically Based Program

This paper (co-authored by David Schechter, Dr. Smith, et al.) was presented in abstract form at the March 5, 2005 meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, in Vancouver, BC. This abstract was also published in Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 67, Number 1, online journal, pg. A-101. (Abstract 1112, "Long-Term Outcome of Back Pain Patients Treated by a Psychologically Based Program", Schechter, Smith, et al.). To view the Abstract, click on the title heading above or click here. (Note: You will need to have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader installed on your system to read the journal. To obtain Adobe® Acrobat®, if you do not have it, visit

In this study, outcome data from a clinical follow-up study of 85 of Dr. Schechter's patients treated between 1995 and 2000 revealed that over 60% were substantially improved and an additional 18% had some improvement (abstract presented  These results are remarkable in that 85% of these patients were chronic sufferers when first diagnosed by Dr. Schechter. Also, the follow-up was truly long term (greater than one year since treatment), so this is not a random or placebo event. Outcome variables were pain level, medication use, and activity level.


Towards a Sustainable Metaphysic of Faith (October 1999)

A Paper Presented before the 1999 Conference of the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religions and Published in the October 1999 Issue of the Journal of the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religions.


One of the major principles embraced (explicitly or implicitly) by all New Thought philosophies is that you can achieve what you can believe. However, New Thought is strangely silent (and maybe a little confused) on what you can believe. In this essay, I argue that a major thesis in New Thought philosophy, the notion that thought or consciousness is omnipotent, is simply not believable. What we should do is to expand our notion of the Real to embrace God as Experience. This world-view is just as empowering and much more believable than the model of God as Mind or Consciousness.

Display PDF E-book for reading, downloading, or printing. (Requires Adobe® Acrobat Reader®.)

Display in Web browser for on-line reading.

Interview with Transitions Magazine on the Placebo Effect 
(Summer/Fall 2002)

In this interview with Peter Van Tyle of Transitions magazine, a triannual publication of the New York Chiropractic College (summer/fall 2002), Dr. Smith explores the ways in which the placebo effect can be used — and not used — in integrative health care.

Reader's Comments

"While at NYCC [New York Chiropractic College] I picked up a copy of your publication Transitions. Since this was my first exposure to the magazine, (Summer/FalI 2002) I have no other issues to compare it to..., but if they are anything close to the one I read, you are not only to be congratulated, and applauded, but encouraged to seek a wide audience.

The article by Arthur Smith was outstanding; the interviewer's questions were well designed and showed remarkable insight into the whole question of  'why people get sick, and what can make them well.' The additional supporting articles were well chosen and well presented. Thank you for your intelligent approach to a subject that no school seems to take seriously.

I would appreciate permission to reprint the article, giving credit, in my own newsletter, and in my program notes.... I encourage you to continue down the quality path you have chosen..., and thanks for doing what you do."

— Dr. John Whitney, Transitions magazine reader in an e-mail to Peter Van Tyle, Transitions interviewer

Display in Web browser for on-line reading.

Go to publisher's site and display online (in a separate browser window). Note: The file is in PDF format, and you will need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® to view it.

Ethics Talk before Congregation B'nai Israel (Dec. 14, 2001)

This short talk combines two concepts from Jewish mysticism, kavanah or "intention" and tikkun olam "repair of the world," in the notion of l'ma-an tikkun olam, "for the purpose of making a better world." Dr. Smith argues that l'ma-an tikkun olam is alive in all of us, and that genuine altruism really exists in our basic nature as humans. To rebuild ethics for the new millennium, this nature must be cultivated and developed.

Display PDF E-book for reading, downloading, or printing. (Requires Adobe® Acrobat Reader®.)

Display in Web browser for on-line reading.

®Adobe, Acrobat, and Acrobat Reader, and Acrobat eBook Reader are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc.


Home ] Dissertation ] Ethics Talk before Congregation B ] Sustainable Faith ] Evidence from the Placebo Effect Interview ] Unsnarling the CAM-knot ]

Copyright© 2001 Arthur Preston Smith, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Last modified: April 20, 2011