Can Psychotherapists Benefit from History of Science Scholarship? Open Access to my Article on the Psychology of Belief in Histories of Science and the Occult

Historians rarely have the opportunity to say something that might be of practical relevance to clinicians or workers in other fields of applied scientific knowledge. As mentioned previously, I was therefore particularly chuffed when psychotherapist Nick Totton invited me last year to contribute an article to an envisaged special issue of the European Journal of … Read more

Scientific Revolutions and the “Will to Believe”: The Birth of Heliocentrism. Guest Post by Bob Rosenberg

Bob Rosenberg received a PhD in History of Science and Technology from Johns Hopkins University. He spent two decades at Rutgers University on the staff of the Thomas A. Edison Papers, the last seven as director of the project. Since 2001 he has lived on the San Francisco Peninsula, working from 2005 to 2013 for … Read more

Are you Afraid of the Dark?

Last year I was approached by psychotherapist Nick Totton to contribute an article to a special issue on the ‘occult’, which Totton was about to edit for the European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. As far as I can tell, my essay will be the only one written by a historian, while all other contributions … Read more

Reincarnation Research and Myths of Scientific Practice

Between you and me, I’m so not into the idea that karma will eventually get me and drag my poor soul back into a new body after I die. At the risk of appearing a gloomy Gus, to me one life seems just about enough. The very idea of reincarnation, of course, has a long … Read more

Pre-Print Introduction to SHPSC Special Issue Now Available: Psychical Research in the History and Philosophy of Science

The final pre-print article from the SHPSC special issue on psychical research, which I had the privilege of guest-editing, is now available online. Although it is not strictly meant as a normative contribution to the philosophy of science, I hope it will still be useful for philosophers interested in the demarcation problem. It basically boils … Read more

“Was Sir William Crookes Epistemically Virtuous?” Online First Article of Upcoming Special Issue on Psychical Research

I’m pleased to announce the online first/in-press version of an article to appear in an upcoming special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, dedicated to psychical research and parapsychology in the history of science and medicine. Thanks to the support of Greg Radick, the editor of Studies, I had the … Read more

Amateurs, Empiricism, and the Tedium of Psychical Research. Guest Post by Alicia Puglionesi

Alicia Puglionesi is completing her doctoral dissertation in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at Johns Hopkins University. Her project, ‘The Astonishment of Experience: Americans and Psychical Research, 1885-1935,’ deals with the emerging boundaries between professionals and amateurs engaged in the study of the mind around the turn of the twentieth century. Email: apuglio1@jhmi.edu … Read more

William James on Exceptional Mental States

Eugene Taylor, whose death in January 2013 was a heavy blow to history of psychology and William James scholarship, was one of the few modern historians to fully acknowledge and try to make sense of James’s by no means casual occupation with spiritualism, telepathy and other unorthodox areas of inquiry. The main fruits of Taylor’s … Read more

A Night of Mesmerism and Psychology at Barts Museum

Last Thursday I had the privilege of giving a talk in the excellent Damaging the Body lecture series, ably organised at Barts Museum of Pathology, London, by Jo Parsons and Sarah Chaney. Surrounded by hundreds of jars filled with various organs and body parts of dead people (no nibbles were served in case you’re wondering), … Read more

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