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The Sensation and the Stimulus: Psychophysics and the Prehistory of the Marburg School

Giovanelli, Marco (2017) The Sensation and the Stimulus: Psychophysics and the Prehistory of the Marburg School. Perspectives on Science, 25.

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the role played by Fechner’s psychophysics—the new science meant to measure sensation as a function of the stimulus—in the development of Marburg Neo-Kantianism. It will show how Cohen, in the early 1870s, in order to make sense of Kant’s obscure principle of the Anticipations of Perception, resorted to psychophysics’ parlance of the relation between stimulus and sensation. By the end of the decade, Cohen’s remarks encouraged the early ‘Cohen circle’ (Stadler, Elsas, Müller) to pursue what were often sophisticated analyses of the problem of the measurability of sensation. This paper argues that in reaction to these contributions, Cohen shifted his interests towards the history of the infinitesimal calculus in his controversial 1883 monograph, Das Princip der Infinitesimal-Methode. This book, with its characteristic amalgam of transcendental philosophy and history of science, paved the way to what, around 1900, would become the ‘Marburg school’ (Natorp, Cassirer, Görland and others). However, it also interrupted a promising discussion in Marburg on the problem of measurability in science.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Giovanelli, Marcomarco.giovanelli@uni-tuebingen.de
Keywords: Neo-Kantianism - Marburg School - Hermann Cohen - Psychophysics - Gustav Theodor Fechner - History of Measurement Theory
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Giovanelli
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 12:41
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 12:41
Item ID: 12467
Journal or Publication Title: Perspectives on Science
Publisher: MIT Press
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Psychology/Psychiatry
Date: May 2017
Volume: 25
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12467

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