FUNCTIONAL RELATIONS AND CAUSALITY IN FECHNER AND MACH

  • Michael Heidelberger

Abstract

In the foundations of Fechner’s psychophysics, the concept of “functional relation†plays a highly relevant role in three different respects: (1) in respect to the principles of measure- ment, (2) in respect to the mind-body problem, and (3) in respect to the concept of a law of nature. In all three cases, it is important to explain the difference between the functional de- pendency of one variable upon another, on the one hand, and the causal relationship between variables on the other. In all three respects, Ernst Mach developed Fechner’s ideas further and tried to extend the lessons of psychophysics learned through the concept of a functional relation to the whole of science. For all three cases, I try to indicate why they are still rele- vant for psychophysics today.

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