M. Kneale, R. Robinson, & C. W. K. Mundle
-- BY M. KNEALE.
There are two ways in which one intellectual discipline may be relevant to another: the exponents of the one may be either the critics or the beneficiaries of the other, either the production experts or the consumers. Thus we can discuss whether philosophers should criticize the methods and arguments of psychical research, or whether they should take its results into account in pursuing their own studies. I am not going to discuss whether philosophers should act as critics to psychical research, although I think that they should. Their training fits them well for the task, and those of them who are experts in probability are particularly well-placed for criticizing the statistical methods recently used by some psychical researchers. But it is to the second question, which seems to me more difficult and more interesting, that I shall address myself. I shall, nevertheless, have some remarks to make on the critical function, for it is impossible entirely to separate the two.
The question calls for two definitions, that of psychical research and that of philosophy. The former need present no difficulty. At the present stage of development precision is impossible and a quasi-ostensive definition together with some explanation will suffice. Let me then define psychical research as the study of all those phenomena which are discussed by Mr. Tyrrell in his recent book, The Personality of Man. I will
Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 24 ( 1950), pp. 173-231, by courtesy of the Editor of The Aristotelian Society. Copyright 1950 The Aristotelian Society.