Bob Brier


Mundle, Broad, Ducasse and the Precognition Problem

Of the three kinds of ESP (clairvoyance, telepathy, and precognition), precognition, or ESP of the future, seems to raise the more interesting philosophical questions. To my knowledge no philosopher has argued that either clairvoyance or telepathy is logically impossible, but the majority of philosophers who deal with parapsychological issues agree that precognition is logically impossible. In this paper I try to analyze the arguments of three such philosophers and attempt to show where they go wrong.


MUNDLE

In an article entitled "Does the Concept of Precognition Make Sense?" 1 C. W. K. Mundle comes to the conclusion that the concept does not make sense, and alternative explanations must be found. One virtue of Mundle's treatment is that he attempts to analyze what is entailed by the term "precognition" as it is normally used.

Mundle says that "precognition" and "ESP" are loaded with theory.

They have been chosen on the assumption that the facts in question are to be assimilated to sense-perception, and that just as sense-perception involves knowledge by acquaintance, so the psychic subject must possess knowledge by acquaintance, knowledge of objects or events not accessible to his senses.

Reprinted from Philosophy Forum, volume 14 ( 1974), pp.161-169, by permission of the author and Gordon and Breach Science Publishers Ltd.

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