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Overcoming the Impassable Gulf: Phenomenologizing Psychophysics

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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  • 1 Albany State University
  • | 2 University of West Georgia
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Abstract

This paper examines Fechner’s (1859) introduction to experimental psychophysics from a phenomenological perspective. Horst’s (2005) analysis is used to demonstrate the phenomenology that is inherent to classical perceptual psychophysics (Fechner’s “outer” psychophysics). Horst argues that the psychophysical event of perception can only be understood as an intentional intertwining of subject and object. From this we move to physiological component of psychophysics—that is, the processes that mediate perceptual awareness (Fechner’s “inner” psychophysics). Drawing primarily on the work of Rosen (2008, 2015), it is argued the phenomenology provides the most appropriate approach for what could be understood as a contemporary psychophysics—one that borrows from recent trends in physics, neuro-physiology, and perception as classical psychophysics had done (or promised to do). This results in a psychiatric neurophenomenology. Examples of the placebo effect and treatment of traumatic brain injury are used to demonstrate the usefulness of a phenomenological psychophysics, one that ultimately meets the demands of Fechner’s original proposal.

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