Parapsychology, Frontier Science of the Mind: A Survey of the Field, the Methods, and the Facts of ESP and PK Research

By J. B. Rhine; J. G. Pratt | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Psi and the Physical World

I. First the Facts

FOR THE last two decades it has been possible to define the field of parapsychology in a clear-cut fashion as one that deals with phenomena not explainable by physical principles. There is a great part of mental life that may or may not be nonphysical, but parapsychology at the present stage is not concerned with effects for which the interpretation is ambiguous. In order to be considered as parapsychological the phenomena must be demonstrably nonphysical. That is, they must occur under conditions that clearly eliminate the types of operation known as physical. In their spontaneous occurrence the phenomena of parapsychology appear to defy physical explanation and when examined experimentally they can be proved to be beyond the reach of physical explanation. (We need hardly add that we are using terms and concepts in their current meanings; any other would be too conjectural for scientific use.)

It is a matter of history that the founding of this branch of science derived its initiative from the interest many scholars of the nineteenth century felt in discovering whether all nature was, as was assumed in the growing philosophy of materialism, a purely physical system. Are there mental processes that are not a part of the world of physics? In their search for an answer to this question the founders of parapsychology were looking for possible nonphysical phenomena in nature that might be scientifically observed and described.


A. Distance and ESP

To these early explorers reports of spontaneous thought-transference occurring between individuals separated by great dis

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Parapsychology, Frontier Science of the Mind: A Survey of the Field, the Methods, and the Facts of ESP and PK Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Part I - Present Knowledge 3
  • Chapter I - A Field of Science 5
  • Chapter 2 - Objective Research Methods 17
  • Reference 43
  • Additional Reading 44
  • Chapter 3 - The Facts About Psi and Its Types 45
  • Chapter 4 - Psi and the Physical World 66
  • Chapter 5 - The Psychology of Psi 78
  • Chapter 6 - Psi Research and Other Related Fields 101
  • Part II - Testing Techniques 129
  • Chapter 7 - Psychological Recommendations for Psi Testing 131
  • Chapter 8 - Some Basic Psi Test Procedures 139
  • Additional Reading 168
  • Chapter 9 - Statistical Methods 170
  • Tables 189
  • Some Significant Events In Parapsychology 199
  • Glossary 205
  • Name Index 211
  • Subject Index 213
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