Darwin-L Message Log 4:20 (December 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<4:20>From Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca  Wed Dec  8 11:12:22 1993

Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 09:15:09 -0800
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca (Michael Kenny)
Subject: Re: Introductions, and historical spiritualists

In reply to the question about whether historians ever used the spirits of
departed luminaries in their own research, I don't know of such cases among
academically inclined historians. However, knowledge of past events was an
essential feature of so-called 'test seances,' in which the purported
spirits were asked to deliver "veridical" messages, i.e. information about
things which only that spirit could have known about in life. As for the
rest, spirit pronouncements generally pertain to things metaphysical, and
sometimes to correct the record: as when Jesus returns to clarify what his
original message really was before mystics got hold of it and changed it
into this son-of-God business.

Andrew Jackson Davis's spirits (particularly the character named 'Galen,'
the ancient physician) were concerned to outline the social geography of
the SummerLand, the true nature of disease, and metaphysical truths
concerning the relation between scientific discovery and infinite progress.
Always Science is a part of it, since the aim of the game was to establish
spiritual principles on scientific grounds. Evolution therefore is no
stochastic process, but rather the expression of an imminent telos (isn't
that how Wallace saw it? I will certainly check).


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