*Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century by Edward Kelly et al. (2006)
Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates empirically that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false.
The authors, five accomplished professors, systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and “mystical” states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. Chapter 8, “Mystical Experience,” focuses primarily on the psychological character and biological accompaniments of these powerful experiences.
The authors contend that all of the aforementioned phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative “transmission” or “filter” theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague, Harvard Professor William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind.