William James Psychical Research and the Challenge of Modernity


How much do I want to read more? 6/10

Nothing new or specifically interesting so far. It reads ok, but it's long, and it might take a while before getting something actually interesting.


Introduction - TERTIUM QUID

As Perry put it, “Philosophy, for James, was not an attempt to secure universality, coherence, definiteness, or any other such intellectual end, but to see the world as it is in all its fullness.”

James, a founder of the new field, believed scientific psychologists should study the widest possible scope of mental activity, including paranormal phenomena such as Spiritualism, telepathy, haunted houses, and that deemed “occult.”

To a friend he once wrote, “I am a victim of neurasthenia and of the sense of hollowness and unreality that goes with it.”
Neurasthenia—and by extension the larger religio-cultural-psychic crisis—was “the price Americans paid for progress.

1 - BECOMING A PSYCHICAL RESEARCHER

One - A RELISH FOR THE NONNORMAL

Spiritualism

Spiritualism is the view that the souls of the departed can communicate with the living and that they do so indirectly through some kind of agent, often called a medium.

The Fox Sisters

Margaret and Catherine Fox, two teenage girls, claimed to be able to communicate with the spirit of a deceased man they dubbed “Mr. Splitfoot” through loud rapping sounds or “knockings” in response to a series of yes/no questions.

Spiritual Uncles