Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Paranormal phenomena

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Q031-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

The term ‘paranormal phenomena’ refers to the class of anomalous events studied within the field of parapsychology. Parapsychology’s principal areas of investigation are extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (PK), and cases suggesting that personal consciousness survives the death of one’s body. ESP phenomena are apparent instances of anomalous transfer of information. They divide into telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition. PK phenomena are forms, roughly speaking, of apparent mind-over-matter. Survival research deals primarily with cases of ostensible reincarnation and mediumship (or ‘channelling’).

The data of parapsychology raise a number of deep philosophical issues. Cases suggesting survival challenge materialist theories of the mind, and (according to some) provide good evidence for Cartesian dualism. ESP and PK challenge assumptions about the nature and temporal direction of causal relations, and also suggest the intimidating possibility that we have direct access to and influence on the thoughts and bodily states of others.

Citing this article:
Braude, Stephen E.. Paranormal phenomena, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Q031-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

Related Searches


Related Articles