Feyerabend is well-known as a pluralist, and notorious for his defences of, and sympathetic references to, heterodox subjects, such as parapsychology. Focusing on the latter, I ask how we should understand the relationship between the pluralism and the defences, drawing on Marcello Truzzi's and Martin Gardner's remarks on Feyerabend along the way.
Spirituality is a topic of recent interest. Mindfulness, for example, a concept derived from the Buddhist tradition, has captivated the imagination of clinicians who package it in convenient intervention programs for patients. Spirituality and religion have been researched with reference to potential health benefits. Spirituality can be conceptualised as the alignment of the individual with the whole, experientially, motivationally and in action. For spirituality to unfold its true potential it is necessary to align this new movement with the mainstream of (...) science, and vice versa. Hence, both a historical review, and a systematic attempt at integration is called for, which we are trying to give here. It is useful to go back to one of the roots: parapsychology. Parapsychology was founded as a counter movement to the rising materialist paradigm in the 19th century. Adopting the methods of the natural sciences, it tried to prove the direct influence of consciousness on matter. After 125 years this mission must be declared unaccomplished. Surveying the database of parapsychological research it is obvious that it will not convince sceptics: Although there are enough exceptional findings, it has in general not been possible to reproduce them in replication experiments. This is, however, a characteristic signature of a category of effects which we call effects of generalised entanglement, predicted by a theoretical model analogous to quantum theory. Using this perspective, parapsychological effects can be understood, and the original aim of the founding fathers can be recovered, as well as a new, systematic understanding of spirituality be gained. Generalised entanglement is a formal and scientific way of explaining spirituality as alignment of an individual with a whole, which, according to the model, inevitably leads to non-local correlations. (shrink)
The paper argues that there are effectively only two tenable theories of the mind?brain relationship: ?epiphenomenalism? and ?radical dualism? (interactionism). So long as account is taken only of the conventional sciences, the odds are heavily stacked in favour of epiphenomenalism. However, once the findings of parapsychology are admitted to consideration, a very different situation obtains. It is here argued that parapsychology only makes sense within a dualist metaphysic.
This paper inspires new questions, possibilities, and challenges for the scientific study of spirituality, and other experiential phenomena. First, the authors offer a refreshing conceptualization of spirituality, one that is similar to that proposed for, and supported by recent neuroscientific study of, religious experience. To what extent are spirituality and religious experience similar at the neural descriptive level? How might they be different? Second, the authors draw creatively upon Weak Quantum Theory to suggest a potentially useful and powerful theoretical model—generalized (...) entanglement—to account for/describe spirituality, parapsychology, and possibly other experiential phenomena. This framework has potential not only to legitimize the study of such phenomena within 'mainstream science' , but also guide new scientific inquiry on spirituality and other experiential phenomena. To what extent, though, must 'scientific' paradigms and assumptions be re-imagined to pursue such studies? Ultimately, this paper raises challenging questions regarding the identity of 'science' today, the answers to which are needed to forward meaningful inquiry of spirituality . What is the 'job' of 'science' today ? Do all 'sciences' hold the same set of assumptions/have the same interpretive limits? To what extent is 'mainstream science' monolithic? (shrink)
This is a collection of the most important writings of Oxford philosopher H.H. Price on the topics of psychical research and survival of death, collected from a wide variety of sources unavailable to most interested readers. Included are discussions of telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, precognition, hauntings and apparitions, the impact of psychical research on western philosophy and science, and what afterlife is probably like. Few twentieth century English-speaking philosophers have written much on these topics. Of those who did so and whose (...) writings have not been collected and published in a single source, H.H. Price was the most important. (shrink)
AFTER DISTINGUISHING PARAPSYCHOLOGY FAVORABLY FROM VARIOUS PRESENTLY POPULAR YET WHOLLY DISREPUTABLE EXERCISES IN FRAUD AND SELF-DECEPTION, THIS PAPER CONSIDERS THREE ASPECTS IN WHICH IT DIFFERS FROM ALL ESTABLISHED HIGH-STATUS SCIENCES. FIRST, THE FIELD HAS TO BE DEFINED NEGATIVELY. SECOND, THERE IS AFTER OVER A CENTURY OF INVESTIGATION STILL NO REPEATABLE DEMONSTRATION OF THE GENUINENESS OF ANY PSI-PHENOMEN. THIRD, WE HAVE NO EVEN HALFWAY PLAUSIBLE THEORY WITH WHICH TO ACCOUNT FOR THE MATERIALS WHICH PARAPSYCHOLOGY IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE TO (...) EXPLAIN. THE CONCLUSION IS THAT PARAPSYCHOLOGY HAS NOT YET GRADUATED AS A SCIENCE, AND LIKELY NEVER WILL. (shrink)
An account is given of a recent proposal to complete modern quantum theory by adding a characterisation of consciousness. The resulting theory is applied to give mechanisms for typical parapsychological phenomena, and ways of testing it are discussed.
An important methodological argument is outlined in support of general theoretical challenges to the dominant materialist paradigm. The idea is that the empirical inadequacies of a dominant theory can be hidden from view by various factors, and will emerge from the shadows only when viewed from the perspective of a systematic conceptual alternative. The question then posed is whether parapsychology provides a conceptual alternative adequate to this task. The provisional conclusion drawn is that it does not. Some further consequences (...) are drawn from this concerning the experimental side of the parapsychological tradition. (shrink)
Many writers have attempted to develop criteria to demarcate between competent science and pseudo?science. Such attempts can be aimed at sizeable, organized endeavours, such as mesmerism and astrology, or at the level of individual practice. The latter is seen by some, such as Lugg, as more likely to be feasible and useful. This paper argues that parapsychology, due to its complexity and diversity, illustrates some of the problems of attempting to develop demarcation criteria for extensive endeavours. It is also (...) suggested that parapsychology may offer a productive ground for testing whether demarcation criteria can be successfully applied to practices in respect of predicting which will succeed and which will not. The conclusion is that, for demarcation efforts to be useful, they should pass some of their own criteria, such as falsifiability. (shrink)
TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF FURTHER AND GREATER EFFORTS HAVE LEFT PARAPSYCHOLOGY WHERE IT WAS BEFORE: ALTHOUGH WE SURELY HAVE TOO MUCH EVIDENCE TO IGNORE; STILL THERE IS NOT ONE TRULY REPEATABLE EXPERIMENT, AND HENCE NO SORT OF PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOMENON WHICH IS CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHED. THE PAPER PROCEEDS TO SHOW HOW THE CONCEPT OF A LAW OF NATURE IS LOGICALLY LINKED WITH THAT OF REPEATABILITY; AND HOW WITHOUT REPEATABILITY WE CANNOT ESTABLISH THE GENUINENESS OF ANY PHENOMENON PRECLUDED BY WHAT WE HAVE (...) EXCELLENT REASON TO BELIEVE TO BE TRUE LAWS OF NATURE. (shrink)
This short essay is a follow-on to Mental Monism Considered as a Solution to the Mind- Body Problem, in ‘Mind and its Place in the World: Non-Reductionist Approaches to the Ontology of Consciousness’, edited by Alexander Batthyany and Avshalom Elitzur, published by Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, December 2005. It was originally planned as a final section of that essay but, at forty-four pages the latter was already oversize, so the parapsychology section was dropped from that publication.
EVERYONE THINKS they are open-minded. Scientists in particular like to think they have open minds, but we know from psychology that this is just one of those attributes that people like to apply to themselves. We shouldn’t perhaps have to worry about it at all, except that parapsychology forces one to ask, "Do I believe in this, do I disbelieve in this, or do I have an open mind?".
One of the reasons the history of parapsychology and its ancestor psychical research is intriguing is because it addresses a central issue: the boundaries of science. This article provides an overview of the historiography of parapsychology and presents an approach to investigate the Dutch history of parapsychology contributing to the understanding of this central theme. In the first section the historical accounts provided by psychical researchers and parapsychologists themselves are discussed; next those studies of sociologists and historians (...) understanding parapsychology as deviant and even potentially revolutionary are dealt with; third, more contemporary studies are examined whereby enterprises such as parapsychology are understood as central to the culture in which they arose. On the basis of this analysis a new direction in the historiography of the subject is suggested in the fourth section, centred upon the relation between parapsychology and psychology in the Netherlands throughout the 20th century. In the Netherlands not only were pioneering psychologists such as Gerard Heymans (1857–1930) actively involved in experiments into telepathy, the first professor in parapsychology in the world – Wilhelm Tenhaeff (1894–1981) – was appointed in 1953 at Utrecht University and in the 1970s and 1980s parapsychology had its own research laboratory at Utrecht University in the division of psychology. This unique situation in the Netherlands deserves scholarly attention and makes an interesting case to investigate the much-neglected connections between the fields of psychology and parapsychology in the 20th century. The connections between psychology and parapsychology might help us to understand why parapsychology came to be regarded as a pseudoscience. (shrink)
Parapsychologists have never been entirely satisfied with their technical vo- cabulary, and occasionally their discontent leads to attempts at terminological reform.1 Recently, a number of prominent parapsychologists, led by Ed May, have regularly abandoned some of parapsychology’s traditional and central categories in favor of some novel alternatives (see, e.g., May, Utts, and Spot- tiswoode, 1995a, 1995b; May, Spottiswood, Utts, and James, 1995). They rec- ommend replacing the term ª ESPº with ª anomalous cognitionº (or AC) and ª psychokinesis (PK)º (...) with ª anomalous perturbationº (or AP). Advocates of these new terms also propose replacing the term ª psiº or ª psi phenomenaº with ª anomalous mental phenomena.º Superf icially at least, these proposals seem merely to be modest extensions of parapsychology’s increasingly fre- quent use of the term ª anomalousº as a substitute for ª paranormal,º a practice which (although controversial) is not without merit, and which Palmer has vigorously defended (1986, 1987, 1992). But in my view, the proposed new terminology creates more problems than it solves. (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.
This work of 'systematic parapsychology' aims to construct a framework and system of parapsychology, taking a comprehensive approach to the field. The book states that parapsychology has a different philosophical background from the existing science and religions, and posits that pantheism could be the theoretical basis of parapsychology.
The history of psychology in Japan from the late 19th century until the first half of the 20th century did not follow a smooth course. After the first psychological laboratory was established at Tokyo Imperial University in 1903, psychology in Japan developed as individual specialties until the Japanese Psychological Association was established in 1927. During that time, Tomokichi Fukurai, an associate professor at Tokyo Imperial University, became involved with psychical research until he was forced out in 1913. The Fukurai affair, (...) as it is sometimes called, was not documented in textbooks on the history of Japanese psychology prior to the late 1990s. Among earlier generations of Japanese psychologists, it has even been taboo for discussion. Today, the affair and its after-effects are considered to have been a major deterrent in the advancement of clinical psychology in Japan during the first half of the 20th century. (shrink)
possible, your investigation is unlikely ever to get off the ground), there’s no such excuse for philosophers. The philosopher should be unrestricted by fashions in thought, including the unquestioning acceptance of whatever scientific theories are currently dominant. The fact is, however, that in this field and in the philosophy of mind, many.
Suppose that paranormal phenomena really exist. Telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, clairvoyance, and communication with the dead actually take place. In this article, Timothy Sprigge asks to what extent this would impact on our world view. In particular, how would it affect science, philosophy and religion?