Originally published in 1901 and republished here by Forgotten Books, The Law of Psychic Phenomena: A Working Hypothesis is author Thomas Jay Hudson’s examination of what is here referred to as psychic phenomena, namely hypnotism, mental therapeutics, clairvoyance, ghosts, and many other topics that some may consider fantastical. The purpose of the book, as stated by Hudson, is to “assist in bringing Psychology within the domain of the exact sciences.” While there is no disputing that psychology today enjoys the same level of academic and scientific rigour as other fields, skeptics may take issue with the phenomena that the author lumps into the field of psychology.
Hudson begins the book with a discussion on the importance of formulating a working hypothesis before laying out his own. The author argues that man has two minds, an objective and subjective, with the subjective mind amendable to control by suggestion and incapable of inductive reasoning. It is with this hypothesis that Hudson carries out an examination of various forms of psychic phenomena.
This is not a book for the reason-minded skeptic to enjoy. Much of the text is devoted to what many would classify as the supernatural. Nor does the author offer logic based arguments for skeptics, rather, he dismisses them outright, stating, “I will not waste time, however, by attempting to prove by experiments of my own, or of others, that such phenomena do occur. It is too late for that. The facts are too well known to the civilized world to require proofs at this time. The man who denies the phenomena of spiritism to-day is not entitled to be called a sceptic, he is simply ignorant.” If you are not willing to go into this book with a blanket acceptance of the supernatural you will likely take issue with many of the passages.
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