Describing inner experience? : proponent meets skeptic by Russell Hurlburt, Eric Schwitzgebel

By Russell Hurlburt, Eric Schwitzgebel

Can wide awake event be defined correctly? will we supply trustworthy money owed of our sensory reviews and pains, our internal speech and imagery, our felt feelings? The query is critical not just to our humanistic realizing of who we're but in addition to the burgeoning medical box of awareness reviews. The authors of Describing internal Experience disagree at the solution: Russell Hurlburt, a psychologist, argues that stronger equipment of introspective reporting make actual money owed of internal adventure attainable; Eric Schwitzgebel, a thinker, believes that any introspective reporting is necessarily at risk of mistakes. during this ebook the 2 talk about to what quantity it truly is attainable to describe our internal adventure adequately.

Hurlburt and Schwitzgebel recruited an issue, "Melanie," to record on her unsleeping event utilizing Hurlburt's Descriptive event Sampling strategy (in which the topic is cued by means of random beeps to explain her unsleeping experience). the center of the publication is Melanie's debts, Hurlburt and Schwitzgebel's interviews together with her, and their next discussions whereas learning the transcripts of the interviews. during this means the authors' dispute in regards to the common reliability of introspective reporting is progressively tempered via particular debates concerning the quantity to which Melanie's specific experiences are plausible. Transcripts and audio documents of the interviews could be on hand at the MIT Press web site.

Describing internal Experience? isn't really loads a debate because it is a collaboration, with each one writer trying to refine his place and to interchange partisanship with balanced serious judgment. the result's an illumination of significant concerns within the learn of recognition -- from aspects at once.

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Sampling had putatively “discovered” a highly unusual phenomenon of Fran’s inner experience (no figure-ground phenomenon in image and external perception). This was “corroborated” by three highly unusual external characteristics: no alternation of ambiguous figures, the ability to count and hold a conversation (the ability was actually stronger than that—Fran could count, participate in one conversation, and simultaneously listen without difficulty to one or more other simultaneous conversations), and the presence of three TV’s in her living room and the ability to watch all of them at the same time.

5 Nisbett and Wilson’s critique exempted DES, and indeed (contrary to myth) exempted consciousness generally. Russ: Nisbett and Wilson’s 1977 criticism of introspection is so widely quoted as to require comment. The criticism is that “the accuracy of subjective reports is so poor as to suggest than any introspective access that may exist is not sufficient to produce generally correct or reliable reports” (Nisbett and Wilson 1977, p. 233). Critics of introspective-like methods have often taken Nisbett and Wilson’s paper to be an unconditional refutation of introspection in general.

Human judgment about anything as fluid, changeable, skittish and chaotic as conscious experience is bound to error and confusion. (Schwitzgebel 2002, p. 50) Guideline 12: Separate reports from interpretations. Neuroscience has effectively used introspective reports of experience by those suffering from brain damage and disease to obtain an ever greater understanding of brain processing. Neuroscience has been successful because it has appropriately separated the introspective report from the interpretation of that report.

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