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Record Type: Review   ID: 1360

Precognition and the Philosophy of Science: An Essay on Backward Causation

Brier, Bob

 Brier, a professional philosopher as well as a parapsychologist, points out in the Introduction that the data of parapsychology raise important philosophical questions: "They suggest that the way we have been conceiving our (physical) universe may be wrong. Since there is a clash between the findings of parapsychologists and the conceptions and theories of philosophers, something has to give . . . Philosophers should see what suggestions parapsychology offers as to what concepts might be altered and in what way" (p. ix). In this book Brier treats one such concept—that of cause—and how it "might be altered in order to explain the phenomenon of precognition" (p. ix). Brier attempts to show that it is possible for a cause to occur after its effect. He analyzes philosophers who have dealt with the possibility of backward causation, pro and con: Black, Broad, Chisholm, Dray, Ducasse, Dummett, Flew, Gale, Mackie, Mundle, Schlesinger, Scriven, Swinburne, Taylor. Brier's treatment of this topic is advanced (it is based on his doctoral dissertation), and considerable background in philosophy and also physics is required to follow the complete argument.
Publisher Information:New York: Humanities Press, 1974. 105p. Bibliography: 102-103; Name index: 105; Subject index: 104
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