Authors
Lydia Patton
Virginia Tech
Abstract
Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) established results both controversial and enduring: analysis of mixed colors and of combination tones, arguments against nativism, and the analysis of sensation and perception using the techniques of natural science. The paper focuses on Helmholtz’s account of sensation, perception, and representation via “physiological psychology”. Helmholtz emphasized that external stimuli of sensations are causes, and sensations are their effects, and he had a practical and naturalist orientation toward the analysis of phenomenal experience. However, he argued as well that sensation must be interpreted to yield representation, and that representation is geared toward objective representation (the central thesis of contemporary intentionalism). The interpretation of sensation is based on “facts” revealed in experiment, but extends to the analysis of the quantitative, causal relationships between stimuli and responses. A key question for Helmholtz’s theory is the extent to which mental operations are to be ascribed a role in interpreting sensation.
Keywords Helmholtz  psychology  nativism  naturalism  adverbialism  cognitive penetration  intentionality
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Grundzuge der Physiologischen Psychologie.W. Wundt - 1893 - Philosophical Review 2:637.
Is Consciousness Embodied.Jesse Prinz - 2009 - In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 419--437.

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