mainstream academicians. Perhaps the major common area of interest was that of dissociation Ã¢â¬â in particular, the study of hypnosis and multiple personality, The founders of the S.P.R. believed, along with many others, that dissociative phenomena promised insights into the nature of the mind generally, including..
Lately I've been giving a great deal of thought to the nature of human (and other organic) abilities. In part, this is connected to my recent research into multiple personality and the need to explain, not only the partitioning of abilities and skills among alternate personalities, but also the enhanced levels of functioning that some of them exhibit (and for that matter, the exceptional performances of "nonmultiples" in hypnotic and other sorts of dissociative states). My interest in this topic is (...) also connected to my ongoing study of savants and prodigies, who apparently have much to teach us about the limits (and perhaps also the latency) of human abilities. At bottom, I suppose, it connects with my general and longstanding concern with problems of psychological explanation, particularly in light of the gross inadequacies of trendy computational theories of the mind. (shrink)
The so-called “problem of personal identity” can be viewed as either a metaphysical or an epistemological issue. Metaphysicians want to know what it is for one individual to be the same person as another. Epistemologists want to know how to decide if an individual is the same person as someone else. These two problems converge around evidence from mediumship and apparent reincarnation cases, suggesting personal survival of bodily death and dissolution. These cases make us wonder how it might be possible (...) for a person to survive death and either temporarily or permanently animate another body. And they make us wonder how we could decide if such postmortem survival has actually occurred. In this essay I argue, first, that metaphysical worries about postmortem survival are less important than many have supposed. Next, I'll consider briefly why cases suggesting postmortem survival can be so intriguing and compelling, and I'll survey our principal explanatory options and challenges. Then, I'll consider why we need to be circumspect in our appraisal of evidence for mind-body correlations. And finally, I'll try to draw a few tentative and provocative conclusions. (shrink)
This paper examines the ways in which familiar views about the world and our place in it must change in the face of the reality of psi phenomena. It is argued that most commentators are confused on this topic. Contrary to the received opinion, the existence of psi should make almost no difference to our currently accepted body of scientific theories. Nor, as some argue, can it be of much help to a defense of dualism. But the existence of psi (...) has profound implications regarding the pervasiveness of intentions in the world, even in connection with everyday sorts of events. The view is defended that we have no grounds for imposing antecedent restrictions on the range, magnitude, or refinement of psi. Finally, the paper discusses how the evidence for precognition forces serious consideration of a world?view generally associated only with so?called ?primitive? cultures. (shrink)