The Ethical Implications Animism Has for Parapsychology| Jacob W. Glazier

Jacob W. Glazier, Ph.D in Psychology, is Adjunct Professor of the Department of Positive Human Development and Social Change at the Life University, in Georgia, USA. His main areas of research interest include ecology and the paranormal, animism, paranthropology, the philosophy of parapsychology, psychoanalysis and parapsychology, and trickster theory.

Recent trends in science studies, anthropology, and aesthetics have returned to an understanding of the world that is grounded in the messy entwinement that interconnects beings of all kinds. This has been traditionally known as animism.

Yet, what this ‘new animism’ postulates goes far beyond seeing the world through the lens of tribalism or indigeneity. This neoanimism, rather, brings into the fold of the world beings and phenomena that include the technological, the immaterial, and objects of analysis in the laboratory.

There are three main lines of argumentation to be made regarding the implications this neoanimism has for parapsychology: (1) facts derived from the laboratory are created through a complex network of interactions that are then often not recognized by those doing the research, (2) this complex network is built on a heritage that is grounded in specific subjugating effects, and (3) moving away from privileging the laboratory can create a space for other methods at discovering truth that may be more ethical with regard, specifically, to ecology and subjectivity.

Why, then, is parapsychology still trying to replicate the apparatuses and methodologies of physicalism and experimentation? Presumably to establish the reality of psi, even though this ‘reality’ is continually challenged by skeptics and other scientists.

Invoking an alternative endeavor, perhaps, parapsychology might better be able to make sense out of paranormality through an animistic frame. Such a shift could conceivably admit psi into its fold of worldhood thereby calling on parapsychologists to develop new tools and methodologies for exploring this uncharted terrain.

Presented at the online PA Symposium “Ecology, Nature and Parapsychology” on November 21, 2020; program chaired by Renaud Evrard, President of the Parapsychological Association. Download the Abstract at

The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.

A longer version of this convention video, including the Q&A period, is available to PA members-only at There is a level of PA membership for everyone interested in the scientific and scholarly advancement of parapsychology. Learn more at:

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Published on May 19, 2021