Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

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Overview

Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates empirically that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and 'mystical' states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. The authors further show that these rogue phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative 'transmission' or 'filter' theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal Of Consciousness Studies - Paul Marshall
[A] monumental work. . . . Only a very resistant observer will remain unpersuaded that a proportion, as least, of all this carefully evaluated data presents a significant challenge to conventional views.
Religious Studies Review - Jeffrey J. Kripal
[A] sustained, sophisticated, and empirically based critique of contemporary cognitive psychology and mainstream neuroscience. . . the implications for the study of mind, consciousness, and religion border on the unspeakable.
PsycCRITIQUES - Etzel Cardena
Irreducible Mind is an enormous and daring enterprise. Its scholarship is impressive. . . and made me think long and hard about many issues.
David E. Presti
Irreducible Mind [is] yet another book on the mind-body problem. However, this book is different, very different, from all the rest... In the future history of the science of mind, Irreducible Mind may well prove a book of landmark significance, one that helped spark a revolution in the scientific investigation of the nature of consciousness... In the arena of neuroscience of mind, it is the most exciting reading to have crossed my path in years.
Journal Of The Society For Psychical Research
Irreducible Mind is well written, detailed, and passionately argued, and should be central to parapyschology for some years to come.

Its great value is that it helps to close the gap between the conventional view of mind on the one hand, and on the other, responsible research into phenomena which are utterly antithetical to that view. In that sense, it greatly advances the process that Myers began more than a century ago, but was so rudely interrupted by behaviourism and the virtual outlawing of consciousness as a scientific entity.

American Journal of Psychology
The author's sincerity and the extent of their labors are beyond question.
Eben Alexander
pp. 153 of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, Simon & Schuster, 2012

For those still stuck in the trap of scientific skepticism, I recommend the book Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, published in 2007. The evidence for out-of-body consciousness is well presented in this rigorous scientific analysis. Irreducible Mind is a landmark opus from a highly reputable group, the Division of Perceptual Studies, based at the University of Virginia. The authors provide an exhaustive review of the relevant data, and the conclusion is inescapable: these phenomena are real, and we must try to understand their nature if we want to comprehend the reality of our existence.

Journal Of Nervous and Mental Disease - Alexander Moreira-Almeida & Harold Koenig
[A] comprehensive review of empirical evidence that questions the assumption that 'properties of minds will ultimately be fully explained by those of brains.'. . . Kelly et al. deserve to be praised for their courage and scholarship in dealing with such a controversial topic.
David J. Hufford
Thoroughly scientific, systematically reasoned and courageous. . . as exciting and enjoyable as it is provocative and profound!
PsycCRITIQUES - Etzel Cardeña
Irreducible Mind is an enormous and daring enterprise. Its scholarship is impressive. . . and made me think long and hard about many issues.
Jonathan Edelman
[A] must-read for anyone working in consciousness studies, psychology and the history of science.
Richard A. Shweder
[B]rilliant, heroic and astonishing . . . a scientifically rigorous and philosophically informed critique of various contemporary orthodoxies in mainstream psychology, especially the idea that the human mind (including consciousness and our sense of free will and personal agency) is nothing more than a material entity and can be fully explained in terms of brain processes.
David Presti
Irreducible Mind [is] yet another book on the mind-body problem. However, this book is different, very different, from all the rest... In the future history of the science of mind, Irreducible Mind may well prove a book of landmark significance, one that helped spark a revolution in the scientific investigation of the nature of consciousness... In the arena of neuroscience of mind, it is the most exciting reading to have crossed my path in years.
July 2009 Journal Of The Society For Psychical Research
Irreducible Mind is well written, detailed, and passionately argued, and should be central to parapyschology for some years to come.

Its great value is that it helps to close the gap between the conventional view of mind on the one hand, and on the other, responsible research into phenomena which are utterly antithetical to that view. In that sense, it greatly advances the process that Myers began more than a century ago, but was so rudely interrupted by behaviourism and the virtual outlawing of consciousness as a scientific entity.

Summer 2010 American Journal of Psychology
The author's sincerity and the extent of their labors are beyond question.
Journal Of Mind and Behavior - Andreas Sommer
The authors have not only plausibly argued that the empirical and conceptual horizon of science, particularly the science of the human mind, is both capable and in dire need of expansion, but—and I use this strong term deliberately—they have proven it.
Journal Of Nervous and Mental Disease - Alexander Moreira-Almeida and Harold Koenig
[A] comprehensive review of empirical evidence that questions the assumption that 'properties of minds will ultimately be fully explained by those of brains.'. . . Kelly et al. deserve to be praised for their courage and scholarship in dealing with such a controversial topic.
Journal Of Mind and Behavior
The authors have not only plausibly argued that the empirical and conceptual horizon of science, particularly the science of the human mind, is both capable and in dire need of expansion, but—and I use this strong term deliberately—they have proven it.
— Andreas Sommer, University College, London
Journal Of Nervous and Mental Disease
[A] comprehensive review of empirical evidence that questions the assumption that 'properties of minds will ultimately be fully explained by those of brains.'. . . Kelly et al. deserve to be praised for their courage and scholarship in dealing with such a controversial topic.
— Alexander Moreira-Almeida & Harold Koenig, Duke University
PsycCRITIQUES
Irreducible Mind is an enormous and daring enterprise. Its scholarship is impressive. . . and made me think long and hard about many issues.
— Etzel Cardeña, Professor of Psychology, Lund University
Journal Of Consciousness Studies
[A] monumental work. . . . Only a very resistant observer will remain unpersuaded that a proportion, as least, of all this carefully evaluated data presents a significant challenge to conventional views.
— Paul Marshall
Religious Studies Review
[A] sustained, sophisticated, and empirically based critique of contemporary cognitive psychology and mainstream neuroscience. . . the implications for the study of mind, consciousness, and religion border on the unspeakable.
— Jeffrey J. Kripal, Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University
Journal Of Nervous and Mental Disease - Alexander Moreira-Almeida & Harold Koenig
a comprehensive review of empirical evidence that questions the assumption that "properties of minds will ultimately be fully explained by those of brains"...Kelly et al. deserve to be praised for their courage and scholarship in dealing with such a controversial topic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442202061
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 832
  • Sales rank: 97,848
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward F. Kelly is currently research professor in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia. He is author of Computer Recognition of English Word Senses and Altered States of Consciousness and Psi: An Historical Survey and Research Prospectus. His central long term interests revolve around mind-brain relations and functional neuroimaging studies of unusual states of consciousness and associated cognitive phenomena. Emily Williams Kelly is currently research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia. Adam Crabtree is currently on the faculty of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy, Toronto. Alan Gauld is a retired reader in psychology, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, as well as past president of the Society for Psychical Research. Bruce Greyson is the Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia. Michael Grosso, though nominally retired, is currently teaching at the University of Virginia's School of Continuing Education. He is currently a director of the American Philosophical Practitioner's Association and Review Editor of the Journal of Philosophical Practice.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Preface and Acknowledgments

1. A View from the Mainstream: Contemporary Cognitive Neuroscience and the Consciousness Debates

2. F. W. H. Myers and the Empirical Study of the Mind-Body Problem

3. Psychophysiological Influence

4. Memory

5. Automatism and Secondary Centers of Consciousness

6. Unusual Experiences Near Death and Related Phenomena

7. Genius

8. Mystical Experience

9. Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

About the Authors
References
Appendix: An Annotated Introductory Bibliography of Psychical Research

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