Paranormal Essay

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Houtkooper cal basis for the use of this term. Observational theory can best be character- ized by its ‘central axiom’: “The act of observation by a motivated observer of an event with a quantum mechanically uncertain outcome influences that out- come”. For the explanation of psi, observational theory draws upon the ‘measure- ment problem’ in quantum mechanics. This will be outlined in detail, but first the general problem of a theory of paranormal phenomena is considered. Theoretical Parapsychology Paranormal phenomena have puzzled many scientists and therefore it is not surprising that the literature is replete with theories of paranormal phenomena. Parapsychological theories have been reviewed comprehensively by Stokes (1987), who categorizes the multitude of theories that have been proposed since the early 20th century. Apart from discussing observational theory, Stokes mentions, for instance, electromagnetic theories, space-time theories, neuropsychological theories and theories based upon mind-brain dualism. These theories are accompanied by the problems they entail, such as the cod- ing-decoding problem when considering electromagnetic radiation as the medium for transfer of information in ESP. All theories are attempts to explain the occurrence of certain aspects of paranormal phenomena, that is, theories are of varying scope and of varying merits. This article is concerned with observational theory, about which I hope to make clear that this theory provides insight in a mechanism which can explain all categories of paranormal phenomena in way that has a certain relationship with present day physics. Although observational theory deals mainly with the physical aspects of psi, it may provide a way to come to a comprehensive theo- ry of paranormal phenomena, phenomena which then will no longer belong to the catogory of the ‘anomalous’.

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