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Eisenbud, J. (1954). Behavioral Correspondences to Normally Unpredictable Future Events—Part I. Psychoanal Q., 23:205-233.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:205-233

Behavioral Correspondences to Normally Unpredictable Future Events—Part I

Jule Eisenbud, M.D.


Little has provoked such deep distrust of psychical research, now termed parapsychology, as its extraordinary claim that something on the order of genuine foreknowledge—more or less accurate prophecy or 'prevision'—of the normally unknowable future is possible. Such a claim seems on the face of it to stand in complete contradiction to everything we have come to know about the physical universe whose future, according to modern physics, is categorically indeterminate, unpredictable even to Laplace's postulated observer of godlike omniscience. But even apart from this, 'precognition', as this strangest of so-called psi phenomena has been somewhat inaptly termed, is unacceptable to most members of Western culture. The idea that the future is in some way fixed, which would seem to be implied by the possibility that events even far off in time can be 'foreseen'—and foreseen, if we were to believe not only the uncritical dabblers in the field but the many serious investigators of this alleged phenomenon as well, in almost photographic detail—is perhaps the most concrete challenge of all to man's fiercely defended concept of freedom of the will. Thus even the Church, whose very authority has always leaned heavily on its miracles, has taken a firmly negative stand on the question of prophecy. The Son of God and the Apostles have alone survived its censorship in this respect.


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