PSYCHOPHYSICAL EXPERIMENTS AND PERCEPTUAL SITUATIONS

  • Jirí Wackermann

Abstract

According to a widely accepted view, our percepts of the ‘external world’ consist of ‘sensations’, which are mental counterparts of physical properties of the perceived objects. Fechner’s notion of ‘measurement of sensations’ is compatible with this view. We propose a re-interpretation based on our concept of psychophysics as a science of ‘primary experience’. Psychophysical experi- ments are then understood as perceptual situations, consisting of a construction (apparatus) and an instruction given to the subject. ‘Sensations’ are conventional indices for classes of perceptu- ally equivalent configurations (states of the apparatus), where the equivalence relation is specified by the instruction. In this account, the locus of the measured is in the inter-subjectively shared, commonly accessible, that is, communicable world—not inside the subject’s mind.

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