A FORGOTTEN CONTRIBUTION OF HERBART (1837/1851) TO THE LITERATURE ON THE MEASUREMENT OF SENSATIONS
It was in 1824 that J. F. Herbart (1776-1841) presented the most complete version of his Newtonian model of events involving consciously experienced mental representations (Vorstellungen). In 1837, Herbart wrote a fragment (published posthumously, in 1851) concerning the measurability of Vorstellungen. According to Herbart, mental sensation- Vorstellungen differ quantitatively from the physical objects they represent in not possessing spatial dimensions, and in having magnitudes on a psychological dimension as opposed to a physical dimension (with the boundaries of the former differing qualitatively from those of the latter). Because, in Herbartâ€™s model, interactions between Vorstellungen always demand the simultaneous presence of at least two Vorstellungen, Herbart contended that the laboratory measurement of the strength of a single sensation is not necessarily relevant to the establishment of either the validity or the reliability of his model. This opinion anticipated present-day viewpoints such as that of Laming (1997) concerning sensation measurability.