Erfahrungen des Unerfahrbaren
The agenda of scientific spiritualism, which experienced a heyday in the late nineteenth century, was a radically empirical one. Real was only what could be experienced. Hence, questions about the existence of spirits or life after death moved from metaphysics towards the realm of physical-material experimentation. Spirit hands left their impressions in paraffin, and photographic plates allowed beings from the beyond to become visible. The question posed here is whether such practices indeed signalled the end of metaphysics, or rather inaugurated a metaphysics of empiricism, as formulated by William James at the start of the twentieth century.