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Record Type: Review   ID: 1358

The Relentless Question: Reflections on the Paranormal

Beloff, John

There are 15 chapters in this collection of Beloff's thoughts on the paranormal, or as he puts it, the "relentless question . . are there any truly paranormal phenomena and, if so, can we set any limits on the form that they may take?" (p. 191). Eleven were previously published. They are "Explaining the Paranormal," "Belief and Doubt," "The Subliminal and the Extrasensory," "The Study of the Paranormal as an Educative Experience," "On Trying to Make Sense of the Paranormal," "Backward Causation," "Voluntary Movements, Biofeedback Control and PK," "Science, Religion and the Paranormal," "What Is Your Counter-Explanation? A Plea to Skeptics to Think Again," "Parapsychology and Radical Dualism," "Extreme Phenomena and the Problem of Credibility," and "What Is to Count as Good Evidence for the Paranormal?" Three of the essays have not been published before: "Teleological Causation," "Is Normal Memory a `Paranormal' Phenomenon?," and "Could There Be a Physical Explanation for Psi?" An epilogue answering his critics has been added to "Parapsychology and Radical Dualism."

The book begins with an "Autobiographical Introduction," which should be a model for required writing for any book. It not only gives interesting details of Beloff's life: it provides a context in which to place the thoughts described in the collected papers. As is evident from the titles, philosopher-psychologist-parapsychologist Beloff tackles the big questions, ones that he is uniquely qualified to consider. Even when he does not have answers, he does a superb job of crystallizing the important questions. A bibliography of Beloff's work is appended.

Publisher Information:Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1990. 221p. Bibl: 203-215; 5 illus; Name Index: 217-221
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