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Record Type: Review   ID: 1147

Psychology's Occult Doubles: Psychology and the Problem of Pseudoscience

Leahey, Thomas Hardy & Leahey, Grace Evans

 The authors, two psychologists, write: "Our aim in this book is to understand why pseudosciences exist, why they attract followers, why they are rejected. We will also study the traditional grounds for distinguishing between science and pseudoscience, to see how far they are justified and what role they have played in the historical rejection of `real pseudosciences,' if such there be. Finally, we will reflect on the nature of science, its relation to human cognitive and emotional needs, and how far it may go in replacing other human endeavors such as religion and art" (p. viii). Pseudoscience is examined in Part I. Part II consists of four chapters on specific "pseudosciences": alchemy, astrology, phrenology, mesmerism, spiritualism, psychical research, and contemporary therapeutic cults. After delving into the nineteenth-century antecedents of pseudoscience, the authors conclude that the motivating force behind pseudoscience is the need to find "a universe of meaning, rather than one of mere order" (p. 245). They hold that "there is nothing unscientific about phrenology, mesmerism, or parapsychology—which conclusion does not make them sciences. They are not sciences because they try to delve deeper than any science can" (p. 245).
Publisher Information:Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall, 1983. 277p. Bibliography: 267-272; Chapter notes; 3 figures; Index: 273-277; 1 table
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