Re: Introspection: The Science of Experience

From: Alexandra Bilak (
Date: Mon Oct 30 1995 - 11:53:54 GMT

Dear everyone,

I have finally managed to log in and am therefore sending a message for
the first time...hoping that it will actually get to you.

I found that last week's seminar was a stimulating discussion. A lot of
interesting things were said about introspection, so there are only a
few things I'd like to add:

> First let's go back and look at how other sciences inspect their subject
> matter: They do experiments and observe and record the results. Fine,
> can we do that with experience? Well, we can, for example, imagine
> being at a very great height, and we can note that this makes us feel
> nervous. That's an experimental observation, isn't it?

I think that it is interesting to note another difference between
introspection and other sciences. Nowadays when a scientific experiment
is conducted, the circumstances in which it takes place are known and
controlled (e.g. temperature,atmospheric pressure,etc...). On the
contrary,when we "inspect our experiences",we neither know nor control
the "circumstances" in which it occurs. The inspection can indeed be
influenced by our present state of mind (which we rarely choose,do we
?) ,by our unconscious (which is a complex and obscure element),etc...
When thinking about heights, we may in fact note that we feel nervous
simply because something else makes us nervous.

Another difference between "usual" sciences and introspection which
wasn't pointed out is that scientists inspect external subject
matters, whereas when we inspect OUR experiences we are both the
observer and the "observed", both judge and party. Our subjectivity can
therefore interfere with our observation; our observation can be
influenced by our self love...

By the way, Stevan, I don't quite understand your
definition of introspection... "science of experience"???

I have to go I'm late, very late....

Lots of love and kisses, ALEX.

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