The great American thinker William James knew well that no intellectual pursuit is purely intellectual. His interest in the "supernormal," whether it take the form of spiritual apparition or extrasensory perception, was rooted in a personal desire to uncover the miraculous in the mundane. Indeed, the early members of the British Society for Psychical Research and its American counterpart (which James co-founded in 1884) were united in this conviction that certain phenomena which most scientists of their day considered unworthy of their attention were in fact the frontier of a new world, an avenue for humanity's deepest aspirations. In this episode, JF and Phil discuss two papers that James wrote about the first phase in the history of these research societies. James lays bare his conclusions about the reality of psychical phenomena and its scientific significance. The bizarre fact that psychical research has made little progress since its inception lays the ground for an engaging discussion on the limits of the knowable.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
Frederic W. H. Myers, theorist of the "subliminal self"
Weird Studies, Episode 37: Entities
Thomas Henry Huxley, aka "Darwin's Bulldog"
Patrick Harpur, Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld
Mervyn Peake, The Gormenghast Trilogy
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
James Randi, professional skeptic
Dean Radin, Real Magic
Eric Wargo, Time Loops: Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious
Lionel Snell a.k.a. Ramsey Dukes, British magician
Changeling: The Lost tabletop roleplaying game
Rupert Sheldrake's morphic resonance
Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency
Joshua Ramey, "[Contingency Without Unreason: Speculation After Meillassoux]("Contingency Without Unreason: Speculation After Meillassoux")"
C.G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle