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8 Laboratories of Enchantment: Parapsychology in Search of a Paradigm

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Chapter Summary

The main challenge encountered by the prospective "laboratories of enchantment" has been to balance qualitative and quantitative research methods. This chapter presents a largely "internalist" narrative of the fragmentation of psychical research in terms of what might be called its "rational component". There is a discussion about William James' contribution to the failure of the first generation. The second generation did not inherit any clear paradigm to pursue their work. The fragmentation of psychical research during the second generation is elaborated in detail. In addition to the English "psychical research", there was the French "métapsychique" and the German "Parapsychologie". In1925 psychical research finally bifurcated into a "progressive" scientific wing, and a "conservative" spiritualistic wing. The academic discipline of psychology had become well-established by the 1920s. The collision between quality and quantity appeared as the most serious scientific problem faced by second-generation psychical research.

Keywords: laboratories of enchantment; métapsychique; Paradigm; Parapsychologie; psychical research; William James



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