Broad, C(harlie) D(unbar) (1887–1971)
Professor of philosophy and president of the Society for
Psychical Research, London, 1935–36 and 1958–60. Dr.
Broad had a distinguished academic career and was a prominent
researcher and theorist in the field of parapsychology, although
known chiefly for his work in epistemology and the philosophy
of science.
Born December 30, 1887, in Harlesden, Middlesex, England,
he was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University,
as a scholar in natural science. His dissertation became the
basis of his book Perception, Physics, and Reality (1914). He was
assistant professor of logic at St. Andrews University, Scotland
(1912–20), lecturer at University College, Dundee, Scotland
(1914–20), professor of philosophy at Bristol University
(1920–23), then began his long tenure at Trinity College, Cambridge
(1933–53), where he was eventually named Knightbridge
Professor of Moral Philosophy. He wrote numerous
books in the philosophy of science and ethics and was noted for
his clarity of thought on the many abstruse aspects of philosophy.
Even as a young man Broad was interested in psychic research.
He joined the Society for Psychical Research, London,
in 1920, where he served as president twice, and trained his analytical
mind on this field. His early book, Mind and Its Place in
Nature (1923) caused a stir in philosophical circles because it included
evidence of psychic phenomena that suggested the possibility
of human life after death. However, as with his other
writings, skeptics of psychic phenomena praised the clarity and
accuracy of his reasoning. His more mature Religion Philosophy,
and Psychical Research Selected Essays (1953) set forth the idea of
‘‘basic limiting principles’’ which Broad believed formed the
framework of modern technological society. Accordingly, any
event outside that framework can fittingly be labeled ‘‘paranormal.’’
Broad lived in Cambridge after his retirement and died
there on March 11, 1971.
Sources
Broad, C. D. Lectures on Psychical Research, Incorporating the
Perrott Lectures Given in Cambridge University in 1939 and 1960.
New York Humanities Press, 1962.
———. The Mind and Its Place in Nature. London Routledge
and Kegan Paul, 1925.
———. Perception, Physics, and Reality An Inquiry into the Information
that Physical Science Can Supply about the Real. 1914.
———. Personal Identity and Survival. London Society for
Psychical Research, 1958.
———. Religion, Philosophy, and Psychical Research. London
Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953.
‘‘In Memoriam Professor C. D. Broad, 1887–1971.’’ Journal
of the SPR 46 (1971) 107.