John Palmer develops and defends a modal interpretation of Parmenides, according to which he was the first philosopher to distinguish in a rigorous manner the fundamental modalities of necessary being, necessary non-being or impossibility, and non-necessary or contingent being. This book accordingly reconsiders his place in the historical development of Presocratic philosophy in light of this new interpretation. Careful treatment of Parmenides' specification of the ways of inquiry that define his metaphysical and epistemological outlook paves the way for detailed analyses (...) of his arguments demonstrating the temporal and spatial attributes of what is and cannot not be. An appendix presents a Greek text of the fragments of Parmenides' poem with English translation and textual notes. (shrink)
Over the past hundred years, a number of scientific investigators claim to have adduced experimental evidence for phenomena information” seems to behave like a weak signal that has to compete for the information-processing resources of the organism, a reduction of ongoing sensorimotor activity may facilitate ESP detection. Such a meaningful convergence of results suggests that psi phenomena may represent a unitary, coherent process whose nature and compatibility with current physical theory have yet to be determined. The theoretical implications and potential (...) practical applications of psi could be significant, irrespective of the small magnitude of psi effects in laboratory settings. (shrink)
Members of the New Academy presented their sceptical position as the culmination of a progressive development in the history of philosophy, which began when certain Presocratics started to reflect on the epistemic status of their theoretical claims concerning the natures of things. The Academics' dogmatic opponents accused them of misrepresenting the early philosophers in an illegitimate attempt to claim respectable precedents for their dangerous position. The ensuing debate over the extent to which some form of scepticism might properly be attributed (...) to the Presocratics is reflected in various passages in Cicero's "Academica." In this essay, we try to get clearer about the precise nature of the Academics' historical claim and their view of the general lesson to be learned from reflection on the history of philosophy down to their own time. The Academics saw the Presocratics as providing some kind of support for the thesis that things are non-cognitive, or, more specifically, that neither the senses nor reason furnishes a criterion of truth. As this view is susceptible to both 'dialectical' and non-dialectical readings, we consider the prospects for each. We also examine the evidence for the varied functions both of the Academics' specific appeals to individual Presocratics and of their collections of the Presocratics' divergent opinions. What emerges is a better understanding of why the Academics were concerned with claiming the Presocratics as sceptical ancestors and of the precise manner in which they advanced this claim. (shrink)
This paper reviews the debate over the evidence for ESP provided by experiments using the ganzfeld technique, a simple method used to induce a mild altered state of consciousness. The quantitative literature review technique called meta-analysis has played a prominent role in this controversy. The first question addressed by the reviewer is whether the data establish that ESP in the ganzfeld is replicable. Issues discussed include the effect of multiple analyses, the 'file-drawer' problem and statistical errors. The second question asks, (...) if the effect is real, can it be explained by methodological artifacts? Potential flaws discussed include sensory leakage, problems of randomization and participant fraud. The reviewer's first conclusion is that the aggregate database does provide evidence for a genuine psi effect. However, heterogeneity of results across experimenters indicates that the phenomenon is not easily replicable. The second conclusion is that conventional alternative explanations offered for the observed results tend to be conceivable, but even critics sometimes agree that they are implausible. (shrink)
Previous research suggests that implicit sequence learning is superior for believers in the paranormal and individuals with increased cerebral dopamine. Thirty-five healthy participants performed feedback-guided anticipations of four arrow directions. A 100-trial random sequence preceded two 100-trial biased sequences in which visual targets on trial t tended to be displaced 90° clockwise or counter-clockwise from those on t − 1. ISL was defined as a positive change during the course of the biased run in the difference between pro-bias and counter-bias (...) responses. It was hypothesized that this difference would be greater for believers in the paranormal than for skeptics, for those who received dopamine than for those who received placebo, and for believers who received dopamine than for the other groups. None of the hypotheses were supported by the data. It is suggested that a simple binary guessing task with a focus on prediction accuracy during early trials should be considered for future explorations. (shrink)
Pseudoscience is not an appropriate label for parapsychology. Although the noise reduction model of extrasensory perception (ESP) is explanatory only in a limited sense, research does exist addressing the correlation between ESP and altered states of consciousness (ASCs). The term anomaly is not appropriately applied to experiences such as out of body experiences (OBEs) per se, but only to the question of their source. Research on both topics should be encouraged.
Anyone interested in the influence of Presocratic thought may be tempted to begin with Plato and Aristotle. There is, however, sufficient evidence of Presocratic influence among the sophists to make it clear that this temptation should be resisted. Some traces of this earlier influence may be found in Plato and Aristotle themselves, and this fact should serve as a reminder that their own involvement with Presocratic philosophy did not take place in a vacuum but will have been conditioned or mediated (...) by previous developments. This article deals with classical thinkers who interpreted, wrote about, and preserved the Presocratics, pointing out that just as one must read the Presocratics through the filters of Plato and Aristotle and their successors and commentators, Plato and Aristotle were influenced by the already burgeoning tradition of historiography that developed in the late fifth and fourth centuries. (shrink)