Philosophy of Religion

Chapter  5



The Quest after Ghosts

Ghosts are all around us: if we but have the eyes to see.

Is this so? Is it true?  What accounts for the current popularity of belief in ghosts and searching for them?

Can we trust reports of those who hunt for ghosts? Ghost Busters??  Ghost hunting television series

Can we trust these shows to present accurate information and careful study?

VIDEO: Penn and Teller


Alternative Naturalistic Explanations of reports of encounters with ghosts:

Possible Psychological Phenomena in Experiences of Ghosts:

  • Misidentification

  • Psychology of atypical Perception

  • Depression

  • Dissociation

  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder ADHD

  • Self Delusion

  • Hallucinations

  • Subjective biases

READINGS: offered through links to internet sites and some below

1. Matthew J Sharps, Eyewitness to the paranormal: The Experimental Psychology of the ‘Unexplained” Skeptical Inquirer 36(4):39-43

How accurate are observations of human beings?  How accurate when they are influenced by their motivations or surroundings?


How accurate are our memories?


How and why do people believe in what has little evidence to support it?


Psychology of Belief,, Part 1: Informational Influence

Psychology of Belief, Part 2: Insufficient Justification

Psychology of Belief, Part 3: Confirmation Bias

Psychology of Belief, Part 4: Misinformation Effect

Psychology of Belief, Part 5: Compliance Techniques

Psychology of Belief, Part 6: Hallucinations

Psychology of Belief, Part 7: Projection

Psychology of Belief, Part 8: Need for Closure

Psychology of Belief, Part 9: Agenticity

Psychology of Belief, Part 10: Summary and Conclusions

© Copyright Philip A. Pecorino 2013. All Rights reserved.

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