Carington's theory is compatible with interpreting psi-phenomena in terms of either causal or cognitive relations on the lines described earlier. It suggests however a possibility not previously mentioned, namely that some of the constituents of different minds are not merely alike, but are numerically identical. This notion provides one, possibly intelligible, answer to the question -- how can your associating K and O tend to make me think of O when I think of K? This is one way of interpreting "common unconscious," and it has been entertained by some psychical researchers. I feel strongly inclined to dismiss this notion as nonsensical; but I do not think we are entitled to do this merely because our verbal conventions debar us from speaking of "two minds owning the same experience." (We may in any case be forced to revise this convention, if, as Russell has suggested, physiologists learn to make a nerve connecting my brain to your aching tooth.) I mention this notion to illustrate how psychical researchers are driven to entertain possibilities which are so shocking to common-sense that many people conclude that they belong to the lunatic fringe. I feel confident that philosophers will not subscribe to this verdict, if they attend to the facts which psychical researchers are trying to explain and to the scientific postulates which seem to be violated.

Regarding the question which is the subject of this symposium, I must leave it to you to decide whether the discussion of the issues I have raised is a proper and important task for philosophers. We could leave such tasks to be performed by scientists, but, whether or not science would suffer, philosophy would surely lose by this policy.


NOTES
1.
SPR Proc., Vol. XLVII, Part 167, pp. 77-8.
2.
The Reach of the Mind, p. 156.
3.
I shall later define my use of "supernormal."
4.
There might be poltergeist-phenomena which did not belong to either class, but most alleged poltergeist-phenomena can be placed in class (1) because they were reported as occurring only in the vicinity of a particular person -- usually a badly adjusted adolescent.
5.
A recent discussion of this issue is to be found in SPR Proc., Vol. XLVIII, Part 172. See also Dr. Soal's Myers Lecture The Experimental Situation in Psychical Research, Sections 34-40, giving a preliminary report of experiments which appear to exclude clairvoyance.
6.
SPR Proc., Vol. XLIX, Part 178.
7.
I ignore stories about pseudopods.
8.
Human Knowledge, Part VI, Ch. IX.
9.
This is not true of some exponents of the Quantum Theory. But is this relevant? The events between which supernormal relations hold are not "microscopic."
10.
Professor Broad formulated the extremely unplausible ad hoc hypotheses, which would have to be invoked to solve this problem, in his Presidential address to the SPR -- SPR Proc., Vol. XLIII, Part 142.

-108-

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Philosophy and Parapsychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 13
  • Philosophy & Parapsychology 17
  • Notes 36
  • Section I - Parapsychology and Philosophy 41
  • The Relevance of Psychical Research to Philosophy 43
  • Symposium: is Psychical Research Relevant to Philosophy? 64
  • Notes 108
  • Review of Kneale, Robinson, and Mundle Symposium 110
  • Notes 116
  • The Science of Nonphysical Nature 117
  • The Philosophical Importance of "Psychic Phenomena" 128
  • Notes 141
  • Section II - The Argument from the Posselbility of Fraud 143
  • Science and the Supernatural 145
  • On "Science and the Supernatural" 172
  • Notes 177
  • Comments on "Science and the Supernatural" 178
  • Notes 186
  • Compatibility of Science and Esp 187
  • Probability, Logic, and Esp 191
  • Where is the Definitive Experiment? 196
  • Notes 200
  • The Experiment Should Fit the Hypothesis 202
  • Notes 204
  • Section III - Conceptual Issues in Parapsychology 205
  • Describing and Explaining 207
  • Notes 225
  • References 226
  • On the Meaning of 'Paranormal' 227
  • Notes 244
  • Notes on Guessing 245
  • Notes 254
  • Conceptualizations of Experimental Clairvoyance 255
  • Notes 262
  • Parapsychology Revisited: Laws, Miracles, and Repeatability 263
  • The Problem of Repeatability in Psychical Research 270
  • Notes 283
  • Section IV - Precognition and Its Problems 285
  • The Philosophical Implications of Foreknowledge 287
  • The Causal Objection to Precognition 313
  • Does the Concept of Precognition Make Sense? 327
  • Notes 340
  • Mundle, Broad, Ducasse and the Precognition Problem 341
  • Notes 348
  • Section V - Parapsychology and the Philosophy of Mind 351
  • Explaining the Paranormal, with Epilogue - 1977 353
  • Parapsychology and Human Nature 371
  • Notes 386
  • New Frontiers of the Brain 387
  • Notes 399
  • Central-State Materialism and Parapsychology 401
  • Notes 404
  • Section VI - Historical Postscript 405
  • Final Impressions of a Psychical Researcher 407
  • Bibliography 423
  • Contributors 451
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