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Parapsychology without the ‘para’ (or the psychology)

  • Peter J. King

Abstract

Peter King asks whether parapsychologists take too much for granted when they talk of ‘pre-cognition’ and indeed ‘para-psychology’. Even if there are measurable paranormal phenomena to be explained, it is unclear whether they have much to do with either cognition or psychology. Isn't it also about time, asks King, that investigators of the paranormal started coming up with theories to explain what they observe?

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Notes

1 Experimental evidence is gathered under laboratory conditions, anecdotal evidence is gathered from witnesses after the event, while semi-experimental evidence is gathered in the field, using scientific methods (I've taken this terminology from Braude, Stephen E., The Limits of Influence (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986), p. 1.) What follows applies to all three kinds of evidence, though I use two examples of experimental evidence as my starting point.

2 The term was actually introduced by William MacDougall.

3 See, for example, Flew's, Antony ‘Analysing the concepts of parapsychology’, in Flew, [ed.], Readings in the Philosophical Problems of Parapsychology (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1987), and his introduction to that collection.

5 I should like to thank Andrew Wright for his useful comments on the first draft of this article.

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