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Record Type: Review   ID: 1187

The Secularization of the Soul: Psychical Research in Modern Britain

Cerullo, John J.

 Although the backdrop of this book is the history of psychical research in Great Britain, it is actually about ways of viewing the nature of human personality, typified by F.W.H. Myers on the one hand and Sigmund Freud on the other. Cerullo, who is a professor of humanities, holds that the Myersian view of human personality was rejected by psychology with the advent of Freud. Thereafter psychical research lost its impetus as Myers’ concept of the subliminal self, or the secular soul, became untenable outside of psychical research. A new beginning was made by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s, but in effect he dismissed the subliminal self. "Where there had once been a whole subliminal personality under investigation, an entire secular soul to unveil, there were now only card-guessing experiments and attempts to mentally influence the fall of dice. The central paradigm of the discipline was dissipated" (p. 167). Both by returning to the origins of psychical research and by viewing the field at base as being about the nature of the self, Cerullo may aid persons currently interested in parapsychology to initiate another revolution in the basic approach to the subject. It also is an example of a new approach to history called the "sociology of knowledge, in which ideas are viewed in terms of the social climate.
Publisher Information:Philadelphia, PA: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1982. l94p. Bibliography: 175-181; 1 illustration; Index: 183-194
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