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Margins of Reality: The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: ICRL Press (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936033003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936033003
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ROBERT G. JAHN is Professor of Aerospace Sciences and Dean, Emeritus of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, founder of the PEAR laboratory, and Chairman of International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL).

BRENDA J. DUNNE holds degrees in psychology and the humanities, was the manager of the PEAR laboratory from its inception in 1979, and is currently President of ICRL.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I think Ben Finn's review is spot-on, but I'd like to add a few things.
Section I of the book deals with a review of many paranormal topics and inquiry (scientific and otherwise) into their origins. The best thing I took from this section is that the authors were acutely aware of the criticism that has been made of such research, and were determined to exercise caution in designing their experiments.
The PK research --- that demonstrating the ability of human intent to influence a probable outcome --- seems to have been designed very carefully to address anticipated criticism. It's difficult to read through this section of the book and not come away believing that something has been proven. And whatever that "something" might be, it is distinctively weird: it's one thing to obtain operator-specific profiles of statistical influence over some random process, but downright bizarre that they were able to obtain similar results using a *pseudorandom* source. This research, detailed in section II of the book, is what makes this work really shine --- it's the strength of this section that really earned the four stars I gave it. This section is *worth* it, and does much to convince a skeptic (like me).
Section III deals with remote perception, and a system the authors devised to quantify the results of such experiments. The sample sizes and the data here are necessarily more sparse, but are still quite engaging. The anecdotal evidence at the end of the section made for some enjoyable reading, though stories of experiments where the subject completely missed the target seem conspicuously absent.
Sections IV proposes a theoretical framework for the anomolies demonstrated by the experiments, and comes off as quite silly.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
The core of the book is a detailed description of the key experiments which the Princeton group has performed and which offers some of the first well documented and scientifically rigourous evidence for the reality of psychic phenomena. Indescribably thrilling to read how the authors and co-workers set out to show that there could be even a small effect (on average 1 in 10,000 trials may be 'unusual'). The descriptions of the statisical analysis lends credibility to the results. The discursive padding is interesting, but maybe a trifle too speculative. In general, though, a riveting read.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully written book about the interaction of mind and matter. It is science with a heart. Those of you who would like more information about the lab from which this came should check out their award-winning web site:
[...]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By The Don Wood Files on December 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Both scientist and layman will find a lot of valuable information in this book, which describes modern research, particularly at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratories, into how mind can influence the material world. It is at this point the premier academic text on this very controversial subject. There are some technical aspects to the book that, for a non-scientist like me, were admittedly tough going (...). However, the book is leavened by very readable prose and incredible illustrations, many from ancient Egypt, Europe and occult sources. To read a book from an engineering department that contains such illustrations is astounding, and shows how far we have come in taking this stuff seriously!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David A. Grandy on October 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a courageous, humane, and highly provocative book. The
authors present evidence for the existence of ESP and PK
(psychokinesis), all of it generated by their own research.
They also work toward a new paradigm for understanding how
these parapsychological effects might be part of the natural
order, since the classical scientific world-view does not
offer space for such. In my mind, they put too much stress
on the role of consciousness in the world, and even cross over
into the suggestion that the world is observer-created. To
their credit, however, they work toward a more nuanced view
of what is entailed by consciousness (what happens as mind
interacts with matter) than most advocates of this position.
Still, in trying to bring mind and matter into a state of
solution, they seem to turn the world into "a great thought
thinking itself" (to borrow from James Jeans, one of many
scientists whom they quote). This seems to veer too closely
to Berkeley's idealism, and I wonder if in correcting the
materialistic emphasis of traditional science, they
overcorrected in the opposite direction. Is there a "middle
way" yet to be discovered? These comments notwithstanding, this
is a book very much worth reading, and it is obvious that much
rigorous thought and expansive feeling went into it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam Rourke author of The Goblin Universe on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
There have been many studies of and books written about the workings of the mind. What most of these studies are doing, however, is studying the physical workings of the brain. Science can now tell with great accuracy where some process is occurring within the brain but knows practically nothing about what this means. Knowing what regions of the mind `light up' when we are thinking about some subject is not the same thing as knowing how all of this becomes an image in our mind. If, as the physicist's believe, the reality that we live in is a composite of the physical and the mental then we must understand the mental side before we can hope to understand that reality. Considering the importance that modern physics now gives to consciousness understanding its nature becomes more urgent

The authors of this book studied psi phenomena at Princeton and as such are probably as qualified on this subject as anyone. Herein lies the books greatest strength and also its greatest weakness. Being Princeton scholars they write in the manner of scholars with the result that much of the book comes off as sounding like an article submitted for publication to a scientific journal. For the average reader it can be heavy going. Having said that we must admit that here is some very original scholarship on a subject that is out of the main stream of academia and, if nothing else, one has to admire their courage in having written it.

Broadly speaking the book is in three sections. The first is an examination of consciousness itself. Just what is consciousness? Many people from many cultures have tried to answer that question with, so far, no solid answers. The book looks at not only how consciousness is viewed today but also how it has been viewed by other peoples in other times.
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