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2022 Vol. 86(2) 299-321

John G Kruth
Parapsychology Press


Nahm, M. (2022).   Toward a "Parapsychological Synthesis": Proposals for integrating theories of psi Journal of Parapsychology, 86, 299-321.


Toward a “Parapsychological Synthesis”:
Proposals for integrating theories of psi

Michael Nahm

Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (IGPP)

Throughout the history of parapsychology, complaints about a lack of a theory that would explain psi phenomena have regularly been advanced. Indeed, a theory that can explain psi in a manner comparable to robust theories in mainstream sciences does not currently exist. Moreover, the existing parapsychological theories stand largely separate and represent disconnected approaches. In this contribution, I suggest that the situation regarding theories of psi could be improved by developing a synthetic theory that posits specific core assumptions on which existing theories and models of the origins of psi could be integrated. Formulating such a theory that focuses on the communalities and compatibilities of existing models rather than on their differences would increase the coherence of parapsychological theorizing and would therefore benefit parapsychology. In order to show that such an approach has already worked in the past, I also introduce the "evolutionary synthesis” that was developed by biologists about 90 years ago. I furthermore argue that the demand that parapsychologists must develop a theory of psi that complies with contemporary mainstream sciences is principally inappropriate due to the very nature of psi. This is no reason for regret because the exceptional significance of parapsychological research lies in providing direct empirical evidence for a non-physical foundation of existence. In this respect, it holds a leading role in shaping the most accurate science-based model for understanding our world.


Theories of psi, parapsychological synthesis, evolutionary synthesis, causation, Reality

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