Researchers

 

C. W. K. Mundle


     Clement Mundle, one of the SPR's philosopher presidents, was brought up in the Scottish tradition, and gained his First in Philosophy, Logic and Metaphysics at the University of St Andrews in 1939. After serving in the RAF from 1940 to 1945 he took another first class degree in 1947, at Oxford. He became Head of the Philosophy Department at Dundee (1947-55) and of the Philosophy Department of the University College of North Wales, Bangor (1955-76). He joined the SPR in 1948 and was president from 1971-4.

Among his books are A Critique of Linguistic Philosophy and Perception - Facts and Theories. He has contributed to various symposia, and to many philosophical and parapsychological periodicals in Britain and abroad, among them the SPR's Journal and Proceedings. His Presidential Address to the SPR, 'Strange Facts in Search of a Theory' surveys with detachment the interaction between the ideas of researchers, the facts they accumulate, and the theories they work out. He looks at the gaps between dualism and monist materialism, and examines various explanations of data so far established; from Hans Berger's ideas of the transformation of electrical brain rhythms into 'psychic energy' and back again, to Ninian Marshall's concept of 'resonance between similar objects' (hardly applicable to experimental work by humans with cards or even with woodlice), Whately Carington's theories of telepathy, Bergson's linkage of memory and clairvoyance in some universal mind, and Dunne's work on precognition which, he suggests, may arise either from inference, possibly based on telepathy, or on psychokinesis.

His final conclusion is that psychical research has established the occurrence of phenomena not yet understood, which can be interpreted either in dualistic or in materialistic terms; but that in order to make verifiable hypotheses we should 'ascertain more facts.'

Source (with minor modifications): The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1982: A History by Renée Haynes (1982, Macdonald & Co (Publishers) Ltd, London).

 

 

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