ESP, Causation, and the Possibility of Precognition

In Edwin C. May & Sonali Bhatt Marwaha (eds.), Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism, and Science. Praeger. pp. 107--127 (2015)
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In this chapter, I aim to clarify the concept of ESP so that we can ask whether it is even logically possible for anything to satisfy this concept. If ESP is not logically possible, then it would be pointless to conduct experiments trying to discover whether it exists. If, on the other hand, it is logically possible, then its existence or otherwise is an empirical question, a question that can be decided only by looking at the empirical evidence for and against. Questions concerning the logical possibility of ESP are most pressing in the case of precognition. Thus the latter part of this chapter will focus on precognition in particular. What’s more, because worries about precognition often revolve around the possibility of ‘backwards causation’—situations in which an effect comes before its cause—I will pay particular attention to the role that causation plays in the concept of ESP.



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Richard Corry
University of Tasmania

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