LIFE AFTER DEATH SECOND SET OF STUDY QUESTIONS AND SOME ANSWERS
Page references are to Griffin, Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration
SERIES INTRODUCTION, xi-xiv
1. Define worldview (literal translation of the German Weltanschauung).
The general perspective from which one sees and interprets the world; the collection of beliefs, ideas, images, attitudes, values that an individual or a group holds about things such as the universe, humankind, God and the future; a comprehensive outlook about life and the universe from which one explains and/or structures relationships and activities. Adapted from Angeles Dictionary of Philosophy. The lens through which one observes everything. Can be used as synonymous with metaphysics in the sense of the brand of metaphysics that one accepts.
2. Distinguish modernity from modernism 2
Modernity is simply the state or condition of being modern, being part of the way of life growing out of the outlook dominant in the West for the past several centuries. As with any ism, a theory or system, modernism is the theory that underlies the modern world. See question 4.
3. What status did modernism once have? xi
Modernism once was considered The Final Truth, in contrast with which all divergent worldviews were considered "superstitions." Now it is one worldview among many.
4. Give two senses of modernism xii
(1) the worldview that has developed out of the seventeenth-century Galilean-Cartesian-Baconian-Newtonian science.
(2) the world order that both conditioned and was conditioned by this worldview. NOTE that this second sense might better be replaced by modernity; see question 2.
5. Give four sorts of postmodernism (only the last two of which are particularly relevant to our concerns); carefully distinguish the third and fourth. xii
(1) An artistic-literary-architectural movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.
(2) New age metaphysics, much of which really is premodern.
(3) Destructive or eliminative postmodernism, inspired by pragmatism, physicalism, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Derrida and other recent French thinkers. It tries to overcome the modern worldview through an anti-worldview: it deconstructs or eliminates the ingredients necessary for a worldview, such as god, self, purpose, meaning, a real world, and truth as correspondence. It results in relativism, even nihilism. It could be called ultramodernism, in that its eliminations result from carrying modern premises to their logical conclusions.
(4) (the view supported by Griffin) Constructive or revisionary postmodernism. It revises modern premises and traditional concepts. It involves a new unity of scientific, ethical, aesthetic, and religious intuitions. It rejects not science as such but only that scientism in which . . . (continued in next answer)
6. Define scientism. xii
The view that "the data of the modern natural sciences are alone allowed to contribute to the construction of our worldview."
7. What are the modern and premodern elements of the creative synthesis of "constructive postmodernism"? xiii
Modern: human self, historical meaning, and truth as correspondence.
Premodern: a divine reality, cosmic meaning [including organicism], and an enchanted [living] nature [including nonsensory perception].
8. How does constructive postmodernism differ from previous (Romantic and Luddite) antimodern movements? xiii
(1) They were primarily calls to return to a premodern form of life and thought rather than calls to advance.
(2) They either rejected modern science, reduced it to a description of mere appearances, or assumed its adequacy in principle; therefore they could base their calls only on the negative social and spiritual effects of modernity.
Constructive postmodernism draws on natural science itself as a witness against the adequacy of the modern worldview.
(3) Constructive postmodernism has even more evidence than did previous movements of the ways in which modernity and its worldview are socially and spiritually destructive.
(4) (the most decisive difference) Constructive postmodernism is based on the awareness that the continuation of modernity [interdependent with militarism, nuclearism, and ecological devastation] threatens the very survival of life on our planet.
INTRODUCTION: PARAPSYCHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, AND SPIRITUALISM, 1-5
9. Define parapsychology, philosophy, spirituality, modernity, and postmodernity. 1-5
10. Why has parapsychology been largely ignored and disdained for over a century? 1
11. How does Griffin justify his claim "that parapsychology is of utmost importance for both philosophy and the spiritual life."
It conflicts with the two worldviews that have been dominant in the modern period:
(1) The supernaturalistic dualism that was held by most of the founders of modern science, such as Mersenne (1588-1648), Descartes, Boyle, and Newton, and has been presupposed by most conservative-to-fundamentalist Christians and Jews to this day.
(2) The atheistic materialism that arose out of the difficulties of (1), and has been dominant in academic circles since the latter part of the nineteenth century (and hence during the entire period of parapsychology's existence).
12. What are the commonalities of these two worldviews? 2
(1) Lack of room for the three kinds of phenomena studied by parapsychologists:
(a) extrasensory perception
(c) phenomena suggestive of life after bodily death.
Supernaturalistic dualism allowed them only as miracles, and materialism totally excluded them.
13. What two forces are pushing or pulling us into postmodernism? 2-3
(1) Social forces recognizing modernism's destructive power on the world.
(2) Intellectual inadequacy of modernism.
14. What is the central task of philosophy? 3
CH. 1, PARAPSYCHOLOGY AND POSTMODERN PHILOSOPHY, 7-40
15. What are the three major types of paranormal phenomena, the aims of studying them, and the forms of studying them? 11-12
16. Who was Patience Worth? 14 J. B. Rhine? William McDougall? 15
17. What is the modern paradigm? 15
18. What is distinctive of the category of the paranormal? 16
19. What are the two central issues of the mechanical philosophy? 18, 21
20. What was the fundamental tenet of Descartes' mechanical philosophy of nature and what is the obvious objection to it? 18-19
21. Why was the exclusion of action at a distance so important to thinkers in the second half of the seventeenth century? 21-22
22. Contrast early modern and late modern worldviews. 22-23
23. What did William James say about white crows and what does it mean in connection with parapsychology? 24
24. What are the three types of thinkers? 26-28, 31
25. What is a paradigm crisis? What must its resolution entail? 34-35
26. What was Whitehead's major concern? 36
To provide a viewpoint that is adequate both  to science and  to our moral, aesthetic, and religious intuitions.
27. What does Whitehead say about "the supposed basis in science for mechanistic materialism as a worldview"?
[It has] been completely undermined by developments in science itself, including evolutionary theory, relativity theory, and quantum theory.
28. What are the ways that, Griffin says, Whitehead's philosophy is postmodern both formally and substantively? 37-40
[Formally: 1a] In its general attitude, including an appreciation of the complexity of the universe that forbids the dogmatic assumption that we know all the answers. The dogmatism of scientists and skeptics "is the death of philosophic adventure." Philosophy needs to be open to every type of evidence [including the paranormal].
[1b] Whereas the ancients asked what have we experienced, the moderns have asked what can we experience, beginning with an a priori notion that we have only five sense-organs, rather than with a genuine empiricism.
[Substantively, 1:] For Whitehead, nonsensory perception (usually referring to our prehension of our own past) is primary, sense-perception belonging to "the superficialities of experience."
 Allowance for action at a distance (which allows PK): each event is a product of its whole past world and in some limited respect incorporates this entire past. Influence is not limited to contiguous events.
 Whitehead does not limit the causal power in the universe to the energy recognized by contemporary physics. He says that all actualities, which he calls "actual occasions [or "occasions of experience"], embody creativity. This creativity involves a twofold power:  the power to determine oneself, then  the power to influence others. Energy as it is described by mathematical physics . . . is merely an abstraction from this "full-blooded creativity." There exists, accordingly, causal power beyond that recognized by current physics, so that all events need not be explained in terms of its four forces.
 His more general rejection of the reductionism of modern thought.
He turned the epistemology of modernity upside down.
29. What does Griffin mean when he says that Whitehead turned the epistemology of modernity upside down? 40
30. What is meant by saying that he did the same with the ontology of modernity? 40
CH. 2, WHITE CROWS ABOUNDING: EVIDENCE FOR THE PARANORMAL, 41-95
31. What are the four kinds of white crow? 43, 50, 67, 77
32. Why did a 1991 experimentalist say that "parapsychology is incomparably stronger today than it was just five or six years ago"? 43
33. Who was the original white crow and what was her claim to fame? 51
34. What is a book test? 55
35. What point did Ducasse make about wishful thinking and dishonesty? 59
36. What is remote viewing? 80-81
37. What are ganzfeld experiments? 82
38. What is meta-analysis? 83
39. Why is precognition (retrocausation) impossible? 90-92
CH. 3, THE MIND-BODY RELATION AND THE POSSIBILITY OF LIFE AFTER DEATH, 96-149
40. On what ground does Griffin say that if one holds a supernaturalistic view (of God as omnipotent), "a discussion of the mind-body relation would not be necessary"? 99
41. In what sense does Griffin understand naturalism (as distinguished from the common identification of it with materialism or at least with belief that all phenomena are adequately covered by laws of science and that teleological explanations are worthless; he could well use panentheistic instead of naturalistic in his usage; see p. 276)? 99
The acceptance of a naturalistic worldview . . . means that life after death will seem possible only if it seems possible apart from supernatural intervention. Naturalism need not entail that all divine influence is excluded. It entails only that any divine influence must be part of the normal causal processes, not an interruption of them.
42. How did philosopher C.D. Broad say he would react if he found himself still conscious after death? 98
43. What does philosophical conceivability of life after death come down to? 99
44. Does a naturalistic worldview necessarily exclude divine influence? What does it rule out? 99
45. What does Griffin consider "the primary criterion for adequacy" in philosophy? 100
46. How does Griffin distinguish soft-core from hard-core common sense? 101
47. What are the two most common positions taken on the mind-body relation in our time? 103
48. Why is dualism inadequate? 104, 110
49. Why are dualism and materialism similar? 111
50. What is functionalism? 113
51. What are the seven problems with materialism? 113-120
52. What is monism? 121
53. What five problems do dualism and materialism share? 122-128
54. What is nondualistic interactionism? 128-138
55. What assumption underlies the interactionist dilemma and what solution does Griffin propose? 129
56. What alternative to dualism and materialism does Griffin offer? 132
57. Why? 132-135
58. What do William James, Henri Bergson, and William Mc Dougall have in common? 138-139
59. Why has Griffin not appealed to parapsychological evidence to support the possibility of discarnate perception and action before this point in the book? What is he now going to show? 128
60. What refutes the dominant view that a mind separated from bodily sensory organs could perceive only autistically, if at all? 140-142
61. What does Griffin say about perception at a distance? 142
62. What does Griffin say about the function of the brain with regard to perception, and what is its side-effect? 143
63. What does Griffin mean by psychokinesis and why is it important for the possibility of life after death? 145
64. Why might only the human soul be capable of survival, and why isn't that at odds with evolution? 147-148
65. How does Griffin explain the fact that consciousness seems to depend upon the state of the brain? 149
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