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Full Philosophical Implications of Precognition

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  • Full Philosophical Implications of Precognition

    Hi everyone,

    I would like to ask all the wonderful skeptiko forum members to contribute to a discussion on the philosophical implications of precognition.

    If (and I realise that for some people here that is going to be a very big IF), if precognition were one day demonstrated in such a satisfactory way that there were no way for anyone to deny its existence, what would the philosophical ramifications be?

    Would such a demonstration signal the death knell for materialist and reductionist models of the world?

    Does it carry the same sort of implications that NDE's or mediumship carry?

    Would it necessarily destroy the 'mind equals brain' hypothesis?

    Would we need a form of philosophical idealism to account for such a phenomena?

    Do all psi phenomena carry the same set of implications? (i.e. would successful demonstration of telepathy, or mediumship carry the same set of implications as succesful demonstration of precognition?)

    I would really love to hear peoples thoughts on this and really flesh this one out as much as possible. I look forward to the interesting ideas and debate that I am sure will follow.

    Soul
    Last edited by soulatman; October 29th, 2013, 10:02 PM.

  • #2
    Precognition means millenia old arguments for fate are transformed. That I'm sure of. Humans could align with their fate, or, they could burst the paradigm of immutable fate, fate we're trapped in and set off on another direction.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by neilmiller View Post
      Precognition means millenia old arguments for fate are transformed. That I'm sure of. Humans could align with their fate, or, they could burst the paradigm of immutable fate, fate we're trapped in and set off on another direction.
      Thanks neil. It's funny but I was going to suggest we not discuss fatalism, and determinism, and free will issues just yet, as I think this is a whole topic all on it's own, and surprisingly not necessarily implied by precognition.

      It also side tracks from what I am really interested in, and that is what demonstrable precognition would necessarily imply about the current prevailing paradigms dominating our scientific understandings and assumptions about the universe.

      To give an example of what I mean here - if a person is accessing information about events in a future not yet written or necessarily implied by current events, and these events come to pass, one has to admit that their can be no neurological, materialistic or reductionistic explanation for the source of this information. We need another paradigm to accommodate or explain how such information is accessed. these new paradigms will significantly alter our perception of the functioning of the universe, and just what is possible in that universe.

      Does that make sense?
      Last edited by soulatman; October 29th, 2013, 09:39 PM.

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      • #4
        The philosophical implications of precognition usually are associated with free will vs. determinism, but it is difficult to find out which are the philosophical implications of precognition because it depends on how the precognition works.

        The fact that precognition exists implies that our current scientific conception of the world is incomplete or incorrect, but it is not clear what philosophical implications. Does precognition refers to the real future, immutable, or refers to a virtual future, what will happen if the subject does not something about it? Does precognition usually refer to the near future because the more distant is the future, more is undefined? Where does the precognitive information, from the future or is implicit in the present? These are some interesting questions about the implications of precognition, but I do not know how to respond.

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        • #5
          I always mention this, because its oftly overlooked. Precognition and presentiment present two different philosophical problems. Precognition says nothing about freewill and determinism. In fact, prexognition insures deterministic causality. If you can see the future, then its likely you cant change it. If you were able to change it upon the precognitive state, then it cant be verified that that was the actual future.

          However, presentiment offers a major problem to determinism. It implies that learning and decision making extracts information from both future and past timeframes. This violates determinism in its traditional form, but I dont know what it says about free will. I assume people who dont believe in free will could make the argument that determinism could work backwards, but then it just starts to sound silly. Regardless, the reality that the mind can obtain information in thr future challenges the current paradigm in a major way. Thats why its been so violently opposed.

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          • #6
            I appreciate everyones feedback, but we are still largely focussing the implications regarding free will or determinism.

            I was thinking more along the lines of, does have ramifications for the materialistic assumption, as information gathered about future events cannot be explained via materialistic mechanisms. Surely we need to accept the reality of psi, of anomolous, non local cognition, possibly telepathy etc.

            Surely if precognition is real then it starts a cascade, where it becomes necessary to accept the reality of other psi phenoma which may support or prop up precognition in some way. This was what I was hoping to explore.

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            • #7
              A substantial proportion of precognition reports, seem to contain an alternative. For example, in Paqart's book, he describes how he saw his own death in a street robbery as part of a dream. When the situation arose for real a while later, he recognised it in time and thwarted the danger.

              This might suggest that time is coarsely branched (as opposed to the very finely branched Many Worlds QM interpretation) and that some people can observe a future branch of that tree.

              Any change to the structure of time would surely have a big effect on physics - not least the second law of thermodynamics!

              David

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              • #8
                Originally posted by soulatman View Post
                I appreciate everyones feedback, but we are still largely focussing the implications regarding free will or determinism.

                I was thinking more along the lines of, does have ramifications for the materialistic assumption, as information gathered about future events cannot be explained via materialistic mechanisms. Surely we need to accept the reality of psi, of anomolous, non local cognition, possibly telepathy etc.

                Surely if precognition is real then it starts a cascade, where it becomes necessary to accept the reality of other psi phenoma which may support or prop up precognition in some way. This was what I was hoping to explore.
                I think you are right.
                Precognition can't be explained under materialistic models. It's not possible to explain it as extrapolation from a current material configuration of the universe.

                Somehow, we are able to jump out of the normal 'now' moment and access either in dream or in a waking state, a future state of our own perception.

                To me this indicates that mind is non local and isn't bound by the usual ideas about 'time'.

                It's clear (to me, anyway) that this can easily be tested using the ganzfeld. Instead of a sender, the RNG selects the target picture/videoclip from a set of 4 from the databank. RNG is also used to select the set.

                The Gz receiver then does a 35 minute session.

                At the end of the session he:she is shown the target, but not the others in the set.

                A third party judge matches the transcript to determine relevance to each of the 4 targets, point by point.

                I find it amusing debating this, as I've totally accepted the notion, having lived with its appearance not infrequently in my own life for the last 45 years or so.
                Last edited by Ian Holfield; October 30th, 2013, 08:22 AM.

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                • #9
                  This is more like it.

                  Funnily enough Ian, I started this thread for a similar reason. In all the areas surrounding psi phenomena, I have seen incredibly compelling evidence for psi, and ndes etc. however, in all that time, I have not seen the skeptics move an inch, and while I think it is a problem more of a certain personality type than any truly justifiable skepticism (in the true sense), the extreme consistency of their refusal to budge gives me pause to doubt my own conclusions.

                  As I say, I am convinced of the validity of the evidence for many psi phenomena, but even the most ridiculous skeptical arguments affect me in such a way that I cannot commit 100% to belief in anything. Consciously, I laugh at the ridiculousness of many skeptical arguments, but at a deeply subconscious level, I suspect that I am affected by these even weak skeptical arguments in that doubt seems to creep in wherever I have not experienced something for myself.

                  And that for me is why precognition is so important. I too have had precognitive dreams, one which I believe has been with me since childhood, and now makes great sense in the current context of my 38yr old life.
                  It is the one psi phenomenon I absolutely know to be real, and have no doubt about. So I am interested to see if acceptance of precognition, necessarily implies the reality of any other psi phenomena, or whether it necessarily undermines certain paradigmatic assumptions about our universe (e.g. Materialism).

                  Thanks for you response
                  Last edited by soulatman; October 30th, 2013, 08:35 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Interestingly, precognition is also the most commonly reported psi effect.

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                    • #11
                      Well, it's certainly the only one I feel I can TOTALLY ignore and laugh at the skeptics about. Sadly, I have to tangle with their outrageously far fetched claims, and implausible theories with all the other forms of psi, as I have not experienced the others first hand.

                      Don't get me wrong, I think true skepticism is absolutely essential, and to be honest, it is a joy to engage with, and even reassuring in so far as it does ensures nothingmis overlooked, and all things are considered.

                      However, true skeptics are incredibly rare, and tend not to band together into some kind of tightly knitted wall of individuals who already seem to know the answer before they have really grasped the question.

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                      • #12
                        It certainly does put one at a big advantage to have experienced these things personally.

                        I'm not sure I've experienced telepathy per se, but it shades into precognition it seems to me.

                        For example, the Sargent Gz series was supposedly testing for 'telepathy', but if people were describing TWO of the target pictures, and the sender only ever saw ONE, it's possible that there was no telepathy taking place at all. In fact, it seems likely that the first picture I 'described' was very likely in part what the sender was sending, as it seemed to be shaded with her emotional overlay as it recalled her recently terminated marriage.

                        I can also be 100% positive on PK/poltergeist movement of physical objects. I once in the very fortunate position to be in a room (fortunately with another person), when all the objects on a solid case of shelves suddenly flew from one end of the room to the other, hitting the far wall, some 5m away.

                        The objects were books and some china book-ends, and a small sculpture.There is absolutely zero possibility of a 'mundane' cause.
                        Last edited by Ian Holfield; October 30th, 2013, 12:47 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Ok, so both you and I have first hand experience of psi phenomena. My own, with a few precognitive dreams, leaving no doubt about it's reality.
                          It's funny, and somewhat unfortunate I think, that for me at least, knowing that precognition is real, doesn't automatically make me a believer in the other psi phenomena - I often imagine skeptics see anyone who claims a reason to believe in any psi phenomena as being rather undiscerning, and somehow merely believing from a position of emotional need, rather than careful analysis.

                          While I wish psi phenomena were true, particularly those phenomena which prove survival of death, I distinguish between and am aware of a desire for something to be the case, and whether something is the case regardless and even in spite of my desires.

                          I wish for example that acceptance of precognition as a factual aspect of our reality, necessarily made it the case that all my loved ones who have died, are still alive, and that life's purpose were worked out over a much greater span than a single human life.

                          Does anyone think that demonstrable proof of one type of psi phenomena necessarily implies the existence of any or all others?

                          If so, why.

                          I ask this, because I have a sense that philosophically this may be the case, but I can't seem to draw the necessary links. For example, does precognition necessarily imply that the mind = brain paradigm is false, or can it accomodate this somehow? My suspicion is that it cannot account for precognition, which certainly gives me cause for celebration, but then the question moves rapidly forward. Are we now required to admit that mind is independent of brain. Do we now have support for NDE research indirectly through establishing that precognition is real? Can the peices all of a sudden logically start to fall into place like this one after another?

                          These are the questions that now occur to me. Any thoughts?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by soulatman View Post
                            I wish for example that acceptance of precognition as a factual aspect of our reality, necessarily made it the case that all my loved ones who have died, are still alive, and that life's purpose were worked out over a much greater span than a single human life.
                            The precognition does not say anything about an afterlife. If you want to investigate about the afterlife, you investigates OBEs, NDEs, mediumship, etc., evidence that on my part indicates that it is more likely that there is an afterlife.

                            Originally posted by soulatman View Post
                            Does anyone think that demonstrable proof of one type of psi phenomena necessarily implies the existence of any or all others?
                            The existence of a psi phenomenon does not imply the existence of other psi phenomena. We have to examine the evidence of each psi phenomenon to see if there exists the psi phenomenon.

                            On the other hand, the parapsychologists are quite convinced that the names "telepathy", " clairvoyance", " precognition", etc., only are labels that can refer to the same type of phenomena that are displayed in different ways. Interestingly there are also many people who are convinced of the existence of telepathy but they are not convinced of the existence of precognition, because a non inferencial knowledge of the future seems that would bring problems with the theory of relativity, whether an effect can occur before the cause.

                            Originally posted by soulatman View Post
                            For example, does precognition necessarily imply that the mind = brain paradigm is false, or can it accomodate this somehow?
                            It seems that it is always possible to consider that the brain has certain properties by quantic physics allowing precognition, but at first glance the precognition falsifies the current model of the mind.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by soulatman View Post

                              Does anyone think that demonstrable proof of one type of psi phenomena necessarily implies the existence of any or all others?

                              If so, why.
                              I think the point is that skeptics have a certain logic in demanding higher standards of proof for ψ, until at least one piece is proven - such as precognition. After that point, we obviously know the world doesn't follow the assumed materialist model - so we really need accept the remaining evidence using the normal rules of science.

                              (I use the word prove in the rather lose sense that it has when applied to science issues).

                              David

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