|A Letter about Dilley's Theory of Clairvoyance|
|Letter to the Editor published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 55, 1989, pp. 434-435.|
A letter about Dilley's theory of clairvoyance
To the Editor,
In the January issue of the JSPR, Frank
B. Dilley has tried to make clairvoyance coherent by claiming that it
poses no additional problems to those encountered in normal perception.
He shows very well that in both cases we need to posit some sort of
reading relation between mind and matter. Furthermore he makes it clear
that the non-spatial character of clairvoyance appears to be shared by
normal perception. Notwithstanding these important achievements, I want
to criticize Dilley's view that clairvoyance is not in any essential
way different from normal sensory perception. For instance, in vision
our eyes receive physical stimuli, the patterns of which are
transmitted to the brain, where they are processed further. Only after
this has occurred, can we read our brains to obtain the visual
Of course, how this reading is done, is a mystery. The point is that
there is specific, visual information for us to read. Otherwise how to
explain (organic) blindness?
In clairvoyance, however, we lack both the reception by physical senses
and the cerebral processing of nervous information. In other words, the
information we appear to read directly off physical objects, is not
visual information comparable to that read in vision.
We might consider the importance of physical processes in normal
perception greater than in clairvoyance, where all the work seems to be
done by us.
Therefore, I think Dilley has contributed considerably to the
plausibility of clairvoyance, but he has not succeeded in taking away
its basic difference with normal perception. It is not a simple,
unimportant 'direct-indirect' contrast. It involves the fact that
although both forms of perception share a dualist basis, clairvoyance
needs not only psychical reading, but also psychical simulation of
physical reception and processing before the reading can start.
If we realize this, it appears impossible to consider normal perception just some kind of indirect clairvoyance.
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 55, 1989, pp. 434-435
Contact: Titus Rivas
|dualism, interactionism, extra-sensory perception, perception, frank b. dilley, clairvoyance, computation, blindness|