George R. Price


Where Is the Definitive Experi­ ment?

Since I have already stated at some length my views on psychic phenomena,' 11 I am reluctant to engage in continued arguments that can in no way settle the basic issue. As I wrote in the concluding paragraph of my paper, "the only answer that will impress me is an adequate experiment." Nevertheless, some brief comments on the statements by Soal, Rhine, Meehl and Scriven, and Bridgman are in order.


THE BASIC ISSUE

The most important portion of "Science and the Supernatural" was the section suggesting new experiments. My two colleagues at the University of Minnesota, Meehl and Scriven, are incorrect in stating that my argument "stands or falls on two hypotheses . . . (i) that extrasensory perception (ESP) is incompatible with modern science and (ii) that modern science is complete and correct." My argument stands or falls on the two hypotheses that (i) previous demonstrations of psi phenomena have not been convincing to most scientists and (ii) that it is possible to perform convincing experiments meeting all objections that parapsychologists have made to previous suggestions for public demonstrations.

The most significant points that the reader should notice about the

Reprinted from Science 123 ( 1956) No. 3184, pp. 17-18, by permission of the editor.

-196-

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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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