pected effects have been discovered independently by different workers, but the ideal of repeatability has still to be achieved. Even with the best subjects on the top of their form, the psi effects are very weak. Also, another point importantly though differently related to these, the concept of psi is essentially statistical. Taken together these three facts mean that the testing of hypotheses, whether by reference to already recorded results or in new experiments, tends at present to yield imprecise or conflicting answers. If indeed the only laws we shall be able to formulate here are going to be statistical, it may be that the quantity of work needed to begin to establish them will be far greater than elsewhere. So until the present situation is radically changed -- either by important discoveries about the favouring and inhibiting conditions of psi, or by finding a way to distinguish between paranormal successes and chance hits singly, or by the sheer accumulation of experimental data -- the theoretical prospect seems likely to remain poor.


NOTES
1.
"The evening of clairvoyance on Tuesday, 4th December, at 7 p.m. has had to be can- celled owing to unforeseen circumstances" ( East Kent Times, quoted New Statesman,
2.
2. See my contribution to S. Thakur (ed.) Philosophy and Psychical Research ( London, Allen and Unwin, 1976).
3.
Cf. [The names of the vitamins] "were non-committal in order that scientific ignorance should not be cloaked. Under fuller knowledge they are already being rechristened properly and chemically. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. . . ." (Sir Charles Sherrington Man on His Nature, C.U.P., 1946, p. 96).
4.
It has been suggested e.g. by Mr. Richard Robinson at the Aristotelian Society that all means are ruled out by definition. This is not how Rhine and his colleagues use the term 'ESP'. For in the book Extra-Sensory Perception "the Radiation theory" is discussed and dismissed, as an explanation, and not as one of the "negative hypotheses," such as fraud, incompetence, etc., on which ESP would be denied.
5.
"To the layman the progress of our knowledge of evolution must often seem disappoint- ingly slow. To a biologist it is more impressive for the following reason. As it develops it becomes constantly easier to name discoveries that would disprove it. . . . Today it [the discovery of a human skeleton in a coal-seam -- A. F.]. would disprove evolution" -- J. B. S. Haldane in The Rationalist Annual for 1951.
6.
Of course, if there were no such regularities anywhere, human beings presumably could not have evolved and survived. But there could have been far more irregularity than there is, or the regularities could have been far harder to detect than they are, without preventing human life. Again, if in the infancy of natural science men had not believed that there were findable regularities everywhere, perhaps scientists would never have been able to muster the persistent confidence to look for and find the regularities which can be found. But now we can afford to consider the possibilities we have been mentioning, without undermining and betraying the whole scientific quest.
7.
Cf. Dunne, who was misled into his similar theory partly by misdescribing P ψγ as "observing events before they occur": and validly inferring from his absurd premiss the para

-225-

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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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