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Definitions of Parapsychology

Proposed definitions of parapsychology can be grouped under general ideas as follows.

Phenomena outside accepted boundaries of human functioning

“The ... scientific study ... of phenomena which in one or more respects conflict with accepted scientific opinion as to what is physically possible.” John Beloff, (1974), Introduction. In Beloff, New Directions in Parapsychology. London: Paul Elek.

“The branch of psychology which deals with behavior which cannot now be explained or described in terms of known physical principles.” from Laura A. Dale and Rhea A. White (1977), Glossary of terms found in the literature of psychical research and parapsychology. In B. B. Wolman (Ed.), Handbook of Parapsychology. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

“The scientific study of experiences which, if they are as they seem to be, are in principle outside the realm of human capabilities as presently conceived by conventional scientists.” Harvey J. Irwin, (2004). An Introduction to Parapsychology (4th ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Definitions in terms of agency

“A science dealing with mechanical or psychological phenomena due to forces that seem to be intelligent, or to unknown powers latent in human intelligence.” Referring to “metapsychics,” Charles Richet (1923), Thirty Years of Psychical Research. New York: Macmillan.

“The science which purpose is the constatation and analysis of phenomena that seem unexplainable at first sight, but that present the possibility of been the result of human faculties.” from Oscar González Quevedo, S.J. (1972), El Rostro Oculto de la Mente (9th ed., The Hidden Face of the Mind). Santander, Spain: “Sal Terrae.”

Definitions in terms of nonphysicality

“The branch of inquiry which deals with nonphysical personal operations or phenomena.” from J. B. Rhine and J. G. Pratt (1957). Parapsychology: Frontier Science of the Mind. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.



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